Aer Lingus considers fresh IAG takeover bid

<p>IAG has bid €2.55 a share to takeover Aer Lingus.</p>

Irish carrier Aer Lingus is considering a fresh takeover bid from British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG).

The company has previously rejected the advances of IAG with the latest bid being turned down in late December. However, the Aer Lingus board is set to consider a new bid of €1.36 billion (£1 billion) equating to €2.55 a share. The deal is a long way from completion as both the Irish government and Ryanair need to approve it.

Ryanair currently holds a 29.8 per cent stake in Aer Lingus, while the government owns 25 per cent. The low cost airline itself has previously tried to take over the Irish flag carrier airline but this was subsequently rejected. This has gone alongside two failed bids from IAG to purchase the company in the past year.

IAG is eager to take control of Aer Lingus to increase its presence at Heathrow Airport. The Irish carrier is currently the fourth-largest operator at the UK's airport with only British Airways, Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic boasting more flights. IAG's interest comes from Aer Lingus' desirable take-off and landing slots at Heathrow.

The Irish carrier has 23 pairs of these slots, valued at around £30 million each, and should IAG gain control of Aer Lingus it will allow it the opportunity to operate more flights every day. Despite strong suggestions that the deal will go through, opposition Irish MPs have called for a shelving of the deal.

There is a concern that IAG's takeover could potentially lead to Ireland losing some key connections between itself and Heathrow. Members of the Irish cabinet are set to meet on Tuesday (January 27th) to discuss the issue.

News of the potential takeover provided stimulus to Aer Lingus' share price which was up 0.42 per cent as of 08:50 GMT on Monday (January 26th).

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