September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
Shareholder staff at Aer Lingus looked set last night to reject Ryanair's 1.48bn bid for the airline.The result of the ballot of member of the Employee Share Ownership Trust (ESOT), which has a stake of 12.58% in Aer Lingus, was due last night as BTE went to press.But most observers thought the employees, given their hostility to the 2.80 a share bid by Ryanair ceo Michael O'Leary, would turn it down.By November 13, the first expiry date for the low cost carrier's bid, fewer than 0.1% had approved it.Ryanair has since extended the deadline to December 4.The bid is also fiercely opposed by the Aer Lingus board and the Irish Government which has a 25% in the airline.But Mr O'Leary while earlier hinting that he expected to lose, has since made it clear he will not increase his offer.In a letter to Aer Lingus shareholders, Mr O''Leary said he saw no reason to raise his bid. He told them: "In our opinion, there is nothing in the Aer Lingus defence document or its strategy as articulated by the Chief Executive that justifies a price in excess of 2.80."Accordingly, Ryanair confirms that it will not increase its offer of 2.80 per Aer Lingus share." He added: "Aer Lingus shareholders should not accept investment advice from a board and management who determined that 2.20 was an appropriate flotation price for Aer Lingus, yet eight days later rejected Ryanair's offer of 2.80 - a 27% premium - which they describe as 'derisory'."He described Ryanair's bid "excellent value for Aer Lingus shareholders." Shares in the carrier stood at 2.68 this week. Ryanair holds a 19.2% stake in Aer Lingus, far short of what it needs for control.If the bid does fail, Mr O'Leary said his airline would be a "significant minority shareholder and will exercise whatever influence we can to encourage Aer Lingus to reduce costs and offer lower fares."
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