Irish govt 'considering' Ryanair bid for Aer Lingus

DUBLIN, June 26 Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:38pm IST

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DUBLIN, June 26 (Reuters) - The Irish government on Tuesday agreed to consider Ryanair's bid to take over Irish rival Aer Lingus and said it had not ruled out a sale of its own 25 percent stake.

Ryanair last week launched a third bid to take over Aer Lingus, offering shareholders a 38 percent premium to the market in a deal that would require regulators to drop opposition to a merger.

Europe's largest budget carrier, which already owns just under 30 percent of Aer Lingus, offered all shareholders 1.30 euros per share in a bid to secure at least 50 percent.

"The government is considering the offer," a spokesman for the transport minister said after the issue was discussed at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The government will decide depending on what the offer means for route options and air fares from Dublin, what price the government can get for its stake and whether competition authorities will allow the takeover, he said.

Asked whether the government had ruled out the sale of its own 25 percent stake, the spokesman said that had not been ruled in or out.

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