Airtours appeals against EC bid block
Friday 03 December 1999
Tim Byrne, Airtours' finance director and managing director-designate, said: "At the end of the day, this was not the right decision." He stressed that the appeal would centre on the ability of European companies to compete globally.
Airtours will argue against the precedent set by the Commission's 22 September ruling, which blocked the takeover on the grounds that it could create a potential oligopoly in the UK travel market. Mr Byrne said: "This has implications for all European businesses, and for how they can compete against their US rivals... What we want to find out is: 'What are the rules?'"
One corporate lawyer said the case had created "a huge amount of uncertainty about the merger control process". He said it remained unclear whether the Commission now intended to block all proposed takeovers that would cut four major competitors to three.
Mr Byrne said Airtours had received encouragement from a number of groups outside the holiday sector, and warned that if the First Choice decision was upheld, it could derail the merger plans of companies such as Carlton Communications and United News & Media.
Airtours' senior managers debated at length whether to proceed with the appeal, which could take two to three years and will cost the company about pounds 1m a year. Mr Byrne said: "We were concerned that we made the right business decision, and that it wasn't emotional."
Separately, Airtours refused to confirm or deny rumours that it is in talks to acquire Holidaybreak, a holding company that provides camping and mobile home services.
Airtours shares closed down 11.75p at 403p.
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...