Ryanair”s takeover of Aer Lingus was thwarted yesterday when pilots at the former state-owned airline bought a 2% stake in their employing airline.
In addition a pension fund connected with the pilots has acquired a block of 8.5m shares at ”3.05 ($3.70) each, according to The Financial Times.
Ryanair owns about 20% of Aer Lingus and is restricted from buying more shares at present as the price has risen above its original offer price.
Aer Lingus” shares are divided between the state at 28%, an employee shares ownership trust holds 9.8% and two employee profit share schemes also hold 2% between them. Added together this could pose a potential block to Ryanair.
An Aer Lingus spokeswoman confirmed to ABTN: "Aer Lingus employees already hold a substantial stake." While the airline declined to comment on the pilots' purchase, she did reveal: "The next stage in the bid process is now Ryanair's formal offer document to Aer Lingus shareholders."