BA-owner returns with 1.3 billion euro offer for Aer Lingus: reports

January 25
4:51 AM 2015

The owner of British Airways has made a third takeover approach to Aer Lingus (AERL.I), offering to pay 2.50 euros per share, or around 1.3 billion euros in total for the Irish airline, Sky News reported on Saturday.

The Financial Times said Aer Lingus was set to recommend the approach and the two sides could confirm formal talks in the next few days.

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) (ICAG.L), which also owns Spanish carrier Iberia, has had two offers rejected by Aer Lingus, the last in early January for 2.40 euros per share.

Buying Aer Lingus would give British Airways more take-off and landing slots at London Heathrow Airport, its home base and a top European hub for profitable long-haul routes. The airport is operating at close to capacity, preventing BA from adding more flights.

Sky News said IAG had submitted a revised all-cash proposal within the last few days, which directors of the Dublin-based carrier had met to discuss.

Both Aer Lingus and IAG declined to comment. Under British takeover rules, official statements regarding the latest development could come on Monday morning.

Any acquisition of Aer Lingus would need the backing of budget airline Ryanair (RYA.I), which holds a 29.9 percent stake in Aer Lingus after its own failed takeover attempts, and the Irish government, which owns 25 percent.

Shares in Aer Lingus closed on Friday at 2.35 euros, giving it a market value of 1.26 billion euros.

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