British Airways owner IAG SA said it lifted its bid for Aer Lingus Group Plc at the end of last month and was rebuffed again by the Irish carrier’s board.
The adjusted proposal, made on Dec. 29, was a cash offer of 2.40 euros ($2.84) a share, 10 cents more than the offer two weeks earlier, International Consolidated Airlines said in a statement today.
Buying the Irish carrier would help swell IAG’s bank of scarce take-off and landing positions at London Heathrow, Europe’s busiest hub, where British Airways is the No. 1 carrier. The company, which acquired the former British Midland to gain slots, would need to broker a deal with 30 percent shareholder Ryanair Holdings Plc, which seen its own takeover bids for Aer Lingus blocked. IAG would also need to come to terms with the Irish government, which controls 25 percent.
“There can be no certainty that any further proposal or offer will be forthcoming,” IAG said. “A further statement will be made if and when appropriate.”
Aer Lingus closed 10 percent higher at 2.50 euros in Dublin today. The stock has risen 37 percent since Dec. 17, the day before the first proposal became public, valuing the airline at 1.34 billion euros.
Other interested buyers might include Gulf carrier Etihad Airways PJSC, which owns 4 percent of Aer Lingus, and Virgin Atlantic in combination with Delta Air Lines Inc., Goodbody analysts said in December.
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