Response to UK Competition Commission findings on Ryanair and Aer Lingus
BRUSSELS, Aug. 28, 2013
BRUSSELS, Aug. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
(Cadwalader), a leading counsellor to global financial institutions and
corporations, welcomes today's decision from the UK Competition Commission.
The UK's second-instance antitrust watchdog has concluded that Ryanair's
minority stake in Aer Lingus allows it to materially influence Aer Lingus'
commercial policy and strategy in a way that has been or may be
This finding from the UK Competition Commission is a very significant
milestone in a protracted legal battle which has repeatedly stretched the
boundaries of both EU and UK merger control and thrown up untested issues as
to the interplay between EU-level and national competition regimes.
UK law allows merger control scrutiny of minority shareholdings which do not
count as mergers under EU rules.
Alec Burnside, Managing Partner of Cadwalader's Brussels office, and counsel
to Aer Lingus, said: "Ryanair's 29.82% shareholding has been used as a Trojan
horse against Aer Lingus for the last seven years since the original 2006 bid.
It has been the platform for Ryanair's failed rebids for Aer Lingus in 2008
and 2012. The CC has now found that those rebids have harmed competition
between the two rivals. The European Commission needs jurisdiction to
scrutinise and protect businesses from anti-competitive minority shareholder
situations like this one."
In part as a result of the unique issues presented by this case, the European
Commission is currently consulting on whether to change its legislation.
Burnside added: "Cadwalader has been privileged to assist Aer Lingus in this
extraordinary odyssey. The case has tested the limits of EU and UK merger
review. We are delighted to have been able to find a solution for Aer Lingus
through the UK CC when the European Commission was unable to act."
The final report issued by the UK Competition Commission can be found
Notes to Editors
oA landmark finding by the UK Competition Commission (CC) has been
published today concluding that Ryanair's 29.82% stake in Aer Lingus
enables it to materially influence the commercial policy and strategy of
its competitor.The UK Competition Commission is now requiring Ryanair to
sell down most of its stake to 5% to remedy this anticompetitive
oRyanair's presence on the Aer Lingus share register for the last seven
years has been contrary to the interests of the 14 million passengers who
fly on routes between the island of Ireland and Great Britain.In
addition, it has been an impediment to Aer Lingus' ability to engage in
oAlec Burnside is a leading EU merger control specialist with three decades
of experience in advising on major multinational transactions and other
antitrust issues. Since its opening in May 2011, the competition team in
Cadwalader's Brussels office has been involved in the highest profile
complex merger reviews carried out by the European Commission, including
most recently the prohibition of the UPS/TNT Express transaction and
Ryanair's third bid for Aer Lingus.
About Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, established in 1792, is one of the world's
leading international law firms, with offices in New York, Washington,
Charlotte, Houston, London, Hong Kong, Beijing and Brussels. Cadwalader serves
a diverse client base, including many of the world's top financial
institutions, undertaking business in more than 50 countries in six
continents. The firm offers legal expertise in insurance and reinsurance,
financial markets, longevity risk, pension fund deficits, antitrust, banking,
business fraud, corporate finance, corporate governance, environmental,
financial restructuring and reorganizations, healthcare, intellectual
property, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, securitization, structured
finance, and tax. More information about Cadwalader can be found at
About UK Competition Commission
The Competition Commission (CC) is an independent public body which helps to
ensure healthy competition between companies in the UK for the ultimate
benefit of consumers and the economy. It conducts in-depth investigations into
mergers and markets and also has certain functions with regard to the major
oThe press release issued by the Commission can be found
oThe complete case file is located on the UK Competition Commission's
Adam Segall +1 212 504 6492
Kara Condon +32 (474) 991 060
SOURCE Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
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