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Ryanair says will appeal against EU takeover decision

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Irish low-cost airline Ryanair on Wednesday said it would appeal against the European Commission's decision to block its third attempt to take over rival carrier Aer Lingus, which welcomed the rejection.

"Ryanair today confirmed that it will appeal the EU Commission's announced decision to prohibit its latest offer for Aer Lingus," it said in a statement that also slammed what it called a "political" decision.

The EC formally blocked the takeover on Wednesday, arguing that it would have harmed consumers by reducing choice and creating a monopoly or dominant position on 46 routes.

Ryanair insisted that it had submitted a remedies package that addressed the EU's concerns.

"Ryanair delivered a structural divestment remedy including, not one, but two upfront buyers, irrevocable and binding commitments from those two upfront buyers, divestiture of Aer Lingus' flights in each of the 46 crossover routes, together with offers of slot divestitures for an unlimited period of time on all other potential competition routes," it added in the statement.

"Ryanair's latest remedies package conclusively addressed all of the objections raised by the Commission in its 2007 prohibition decision, and comprehensively resolved all of the competition issues raised by the Commission in its November 2012 statement of objections."

Aer Lingus, which has repeatedly snubbed Ryanair and argues that it is a strong standalone airline, applauded the latest EC ruling.

"Aer Lingus Group plc welcomes the decision announced today by the European Commission (EC) prohibiting Ryanair's offer for Aer Lingus," it said.

"This is the first occasion on which the EC has needed to block the same deal twice. It is also Ryanair's third failed offer for Aer Lingus."

Ryanair owns 30 percent of Aer Lingus and last July offered to buy the Irish government's 25.1-percent stake in the airline, but Dublin has stood firm and had already announced that it would not sell.

bur-rfj/bcp/rl

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130227/ryanair-says-will-appeal-against-eu-takeover-decision