AerCap Slides After Saying No Merger Talks Under Way

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AerCap Holdings NV, the biggest independent aircraft lessor, fell the most in more than nine months after responding to takeover speculation by saying the company isn’t in talks with anyone.

AerCap has said since May that it’s exploring alternatives, including a sale. Wells Fargo & Co. issued a report July 10 -- followed by others -- saying the company may fetch at least $17 a share in a deal, and the stock surged 12 percent.

AerCap fell 6.4 percent to $11.93 today in the biggest decline since Oct. 3. The shares are trading at about half their $23 price when the company went public in 2006.

AerCap “currently neither has an engagement with any financial advisor nor is in discussions with any party regarding the sale of AerCap,” Frauke Oberdieck, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement today. “We do not intend to further comment on this matter.”

The company’s statement doesn’t rule out an eventual takeover, said Helane Becker, an analyst with Dahlman Rose & Co. in New York.

“They said they’re not talking to anyone right now, but that doesn’t mean they won’t in the future,” she said in a telephone interview. AerCap and its peers, Air Lease Corp., Aircastle Ltd. and Fly Leasing Ltd., “feel as though their stocks are treated poorly by the market and that they’re misunderstood and are cheap by any comparison.”

AerCap’s board approved an increase in the company’s share-repurchase program to $200 million, from $130 million, through June 2013, according to a statement today that also commented on the speculation.

Last month, the company bought back 5 million shares from Cerberus Capital Management LP, its second-biggest shareholder. The private-equity firm that took the company public now owns a 20 percent stake.

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