Saturday 24 March 2018

Ryanair will learn weeks about stake sale

John Mulligan

By John Mulligan

RYANAIR will know within weeks whether it will be forced to sell its stake by the UK's Competition Commission.

The watchdog said yesterday that it has restarted a long-running probe into the airline just days after the European Commission blocked Ryanair from buying Aer Lingus in its third takeover attempt of its smaller rival.

The Competition Commission is investigating whether Ryanair exerts undue influence over Aer Lingus through the near 30pc stake it holds in the former flag carrier.

In 2012, the UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) determined that Ryanair's stake in Aer Lingus "may give it the ability to exercise material influence over the commercial policy" of its rival. The OFT claimed that there was  a "realistic prospect that its stake has resulted or will result in substantial lessening of competition on a number of Ryanair and/or Aer Lingus routes between the UK and Ireland".

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