Wednesday, August 29, 2012

EU regulators to probe Ryanair, Aer Lingus deal

Aug 29 (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators opened on Wednesday, as expected, an in-depth investigation into Ryanair's 700 million euro takeover bid for Aer Lingus , saying the deal may reduce competition on a significant number of overlapping routes.

"On a large number of European routes, mainly out of Ireland, the two airlines are each other's closest competitors and barriers to entry appear to be high. Many of these routes are currently only served by the two airlines," the European Commission said in a statement.

"The takeover could therefore lead to the elimination of actual and potential competition on a large number of these routes," it said.

The European Union's executive said it would decide by Jan. 14 whether to clear or block the deal, the third attempt by Irish budget carrier Ryanair to acquire former Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus.

The EU watchdog blocked Ryanair's 2007 takeover bid, worried about the combined group's dominance of 35 routes.


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