The UK Competition Authority requires an airline to sell most of its minority shareholding in a rival company (Ryanair / Aer Lingus)

Last week the UK Competition Commission (CC) required airline Ryanair to reduce its 29.8% shareholding in rival Aer Lingus to 5 per cent. The CC ruled that Ryanair’s gradual acquisition of its existing minority shareholding (i) created a relevant merger situation and (ii) had led or may be expected to lead to a substantial lessening of competition between the airlines. The decision follows the prohibition by the European Commission (EC) of Ryanair’s third attempt to acquire Aer Lingus. It highlights the difference in treatment of minority shareholding acquisitions under EU and UK merger laws and reminds companies to tread carefully when acquiring even small stakes in a competitor. The European saga: three unsuccessful bids but minority shareholding intact Ryanair built up a stake of

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