The board of Ryanair has voted unanimously to accept an offer from International Airlines Group for the low-cost carrier’s 29.8 per cent shareholding in Aer Lingus Group.
Ryanair’s stake in Aer Lingus has been available for sale since May 2012, after failed attempts from the low-cost giant to acquire the whole of the Irish flag-carrier.
In a statement Ryanair said the board believes the current IAG offer maximises Ryanair shareholder value.
In line with this decision, Ryanair will now vote in favour of the deal at the Aer Lingus EGM on July 16th.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “We believe the IAG offer for Aer Lingus is a reasonable one in the current market and we plan to accept it, in the best interests of Ryanair shareholders.
“The price means that Ryanair will make a small profit on its investment in Aer Lingus over the past nine years.”
O’Leary has made no secret of his desire to acquire Aer Lingus over the previous five years, but sought to strike an optimistic tone following the deal.
He added: “This sale of our stake is timely given that our original strategy for Aer Lingus (to use it as a mid-priced brand to offer competition to flag carriers at primary airports) has been overtaken by the successful rollout – since Sept 2013 – of Ryanair’s “Always Getting Better” strategy.
“This has seen the Ryanair brand successfully enter many of Europe’s primary airports, being rewarded with strong growth in our network, traffic, load factor and profitability, while keeping our fares low and our punctuality high.”