Aer Lingus takeover wins US regulatory green light

Aer Lingus takeover wins US regulatory green light

International Airlines Group's €1.4 billion takeover of Aer Lingus has won the green light from US regulators.

The thumbs up came as shareholders in the Irish carrier approved pledges the British Airways owner has made to maintain routes to Heathrow.

A review of the deal undertaken by the US Department of Justice "has been satisfactorily concluded", IAG said.

US regulators as well as the European Commission have been assessing the deal as IAG seeks to bolster its transatlantic network through the acquisition of Aer Lingus.

Competition authorities approved the deal on Tuesday, after IAG agreed to relinquish five slots at Gatwick to rivals and pledged that other airlines could apply for seats on Aer Lingus's short-haul services for their transfer traffic.

IAG was not required to make further concessions to the US.

Separately, shareholders in Aer Lingus have agreed to pledges IAG made to the Irish government to gain its approval for the deal.

The Dublin government owns a 25.1% stake in the flag carrier, and IAG had promised to reserve Aer Lingus's 23 take-off and landing slots at Heathrow for Irish routes for seven years.

Investors voted at an EGM yesterday to include the so-called 'connectivity resolutions' IAG had made in Aer Lingus' articles of association.

They also agreed to a "golden share" for the government that gives the finance minister a veto over any route changes that IAG might try to make to the Heathrow slots.

Ryanair, Aer Lingus's biggest shareholder with a 29.8% stake, revealed last Friday that it would back the IAG takeover and support the EGM resolutions.

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