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Ireland: Budget airline Ryanair to make EUR694M bid for rival Aer Lingus

This will be Ryanair's second tilt for Aer Lingus after the European Commission blocked a 2006 bid.

Ryanair ceo michael olearyEnlarge
Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary poses for photographers after a press conference in southern France on February 1, 2011. (GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Budget airline Ryanair will be hoping for a little luck of the Irish when it makes its second tilt for rival Aer Lingus.

Dublin-based Ryanair said today it planned to make a 694 million euro ($879.78 million) cash bid for its Irish rival, despite the European Commission thwarting its 2006 offer, Sky News reported.

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According to a statement to the Irish Stock Exchange, Ryanair believes the circumstances have “changed materially” since then and there are now “compelling reasons” why this offer should be accepted.

It cited consolidation within the industry, increased capacity at Dublin airport and plans by the Irish government to sell its 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus.

"Ryanair believes that any competition concerns which the European Commission may have can be addressed by Ryanair making appropriate remedies prior to the completion of this offer and by significant synergies and cost efficiencies resulting from this combination," the airline said in a statement cited by Reuters.

Ryanair, which already owns a 29.8 percent stake in Aer Lingus, could struggle to get the deal past the UK competition watchdog.

Bloomberg reported that the UK Competition Commission has launched an investigation into Ryanair’s minority stake in Aer Lingus after Britain's Office of Fair Trading ruled Friday that it threatened competition in the British market.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/ireland/120619/ireland-budget-airline-ryanair-make-eur694m-bid-rival-ae