OFT opens inquiry into Ryanair's stake in rival
Saturday 30 October 2010
The Office of Fair Trading has launched an investigation into whether Ryanair's purchase of shares in fellow Irish airline Aer Lingus more than four years ago could reduce competition for passengers in the UK.
Michael O'Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair, which holds a 29.82 stake in its low-cost rival, yesterday rejected the OFT's legal case and accused the watchdog of "wasting time or resources on what is clearly a non-existent issue".
The OFT will first seek to identify if it has jurisdiction to review the share purchase as a "relevant merger situation", including whether Ryanair has the ability to exercise "material influence" over the strategy of Aer Lingus as a result. Both airlines, although listed in Ireland, operate across the UK.
Ryanair, which now operates more than 1,100 routes across 26 countries, first started buying shares in Aer Lingus in September 2006 and a month later launched a takeover bid for the entire company. But the European Commission blocked the bid in June 2007. However, this July, the European General Court ruled that the EC did not have the ability to force Ryanair to divest its shares in Aer Lingus, which by September 2007 had grown to just under 30 per cent.
The case will centre on a four-month deadline to investigate a merger once it has ended or new material emerges. The watchdog argues that it does, as it was previously prevented from launching an inquiry until the European General Court's decision in July, under EC regulations. But Ryanair says the OFT had four months after the EC's ruling in June 2007 to investigate.
Aer Lingus said it "welcomed" the OFT's investigation.
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Are you ready for Crazy Doritos, the red-hot snack food craze sweeping Mexico’s streets?
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Isis in Kobani: US resupplies Kurdish fighters by plane - then Turkey allows reinforcements through its border
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
iJobs Money & Business
£18 - 23k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Customer Service Executiv...
£60 - 65k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a ASP.NET Web Developer / ....
£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...
£27000 - £32000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large charity ...