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.
Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Revealed after 75 years of secrecy: 'Fifi' the glamorous WW2 special agent who tested British spies' resolve
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Isis release 'Flames of War' video warning Obama of attacks troops could face in Iraq
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Alan Henning: British Muslim leaders unite to urge Isis to release UK hostage
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000 first year: SThree: The SThree group i...
£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...