Monday 23 April 2018

Ryanair misses €1.4bn Aer Lingus offer deadline – won’t formally accept until next month

Michael O’Leary’s Ryanair
Michael O’Leary’s Ryanair
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ryanair hasn’t yet formally accepted IAG’s €1.36bn offer for Aer Lingus, despite the deadline for acceptances having passed at 1pm today, the Irish Independent has learned.

But the delay in accepting the deal isn’t going to derail the takeover, with IAG set later today to extend the offer period for Aer Lingus shareholders to hand over their shares.

It had been expected that Ryanair would have met today’s deadline, allowing Aer Lingus shareholders to start receiving their cheques from IAG within a couple of weeks. But the deadline can be easily extended by IAG.

IAG needs 90pc of acceptances in relation to Aer Lingus shares before it can compulsorily acquire the remainder.

Ryanair owns 29.8pc of Aer Lingus and has already indicated that it will sell that holding to IAG. The Government and Etihad are also selling their Aer Lingus stakes to the British Airways owner.

It’s believed that Ryanair may have deferred accepting the offer for accounting purposes, so it can delay the arrival on to its balance sheet of the just over €400m it will receive from selling its Aer Lingus stake.

In a statement a Ryanair spokesman said this afternoon: “As we confirmed in our first quarter results release on Monday last (27 July) we don’t expect to receive any proceeds from the sale of our stake in Aer Lingus until September and so we plan to formally submit our signed acceptance of the IAG offer in mid-August.”

IAG, headed by Willie Walsh, had already extended its offer for Aer Lingus to today, and will now have to extend it again. An IAG spokesman declined to comment.

However, it’s likely IAG will issue a statement to the stock exchange once markets close this afternoon and provide an update on the percentages of acceptances it has already received.

IAG, which also owns Iberia and Vueling, issues first-half results in the morning.

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