Low-cost airline Ryanair plans to make a 694-million-euro ($881 million) bid for its rival airline Aer Lingus in what it said Tuesday was an opportunity to form one strong Irish airline.
Ryanair said in a statement to the Irish Stock Exchange that it intended to make an all-cash offer through a wholly owned subsidiary, Coinside, of 1.30 euros per share.
It said the offer was a 38.3 percent premium over Tuesday's Aer Lingus share price and a 46.7 percent premium over the average price for the last six months.
Ryanair already owns 29.82 percent of Aer Lingus, a stake which it largely acquired more than five years ago in late 2006 and early 2007.
The statement said that Ryanair believes that circumstances have changed materially since its first unsuccessful bid for Aer Lingus in late 2006 and that there are compelling reasons the offer should be accepted by Aer Lingus shareholders and European Union competition authorities.
"This offer represents a significant opportunity to combine Aer Lingus with Ryanair, to form one strong Irish airline group capable of competing with Europe's other major airline groups led by Air France, British Airways and Lufthansa," said Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary.