Ryanair must submit Aer Lingus offer today
RYANAIR has moved to have a British investigation into its shareholding in Aer Lingus thrown out as the carrier approaches the deadline to file a formal bid for the former national carrier.
The so-called low-cost airline made a legal challenge to the investigation by the UK competition commissioner, arguing that the commission should not be allowed to carry out its probe while Ryanair is bidding for Aer Lingus.
The airline believes that any competition inquiry would fall within the "exclusive jurisdiction" of the European Commission, if regulators in Brussels decide to look into a full takeover of Aer Lingus.
Michael O'Leary's company has until close of business today to submit its "offer document" for the Aer Lingus bid, which should outline the structure of the bid and his strategy for the airline if it was successful.
Ryanair last month said it would offer €1.30 a share for the airline. That announcement came the day after the competition commission said it would investigate whether Ryanair should be allowed to retain its near 30pc holding in Aer Lingus.
Analysts are sceptical as to whether the deal will succeed, and have also questioned how serious Ryanair's offer is.
While Mr O'Leary would undoubtedly like to buy Aer Lingus, it is believed the bid will have the added benefit of smoking out any potential bidders for the carrier, which could allow Ryanair to make a reasonable return on its holding if it does ultimately sell its stake in Aer Lingus.
Aer Lingus closed up 1.2pc at €1.06, Ryanair was up a similar percentage at €4.14.