Ryanair Fails to Block U.K. Antitrust Probe of Aer Lingus Stake

Ryanair Holdings Plc failed to block a U.K. Competition Commission investigation into its 30 percent stake in Aer Lingus Group Plc after Britain’s highest court refused to hear an appeal.

The U.K. Supreme Court in London refused to review a lower court’s decision to allow the investigation to go ahead because it would not “raise an arguable point of law of general public importance,” the court said in an e-mailed statement today.

Ryanair has been fighting with regulators since acquiring the Aer Lingus shares in 2006 as part of an earlier takeover bid that the European Union ultimately blocked on competition grounds. The European Commission blocked a bid for a second time this year after regulators decided it would increase fares and reduce choice on flights from Ireland.

“The European legal principle is clear, and its application fact-specific,” the supreme court said.

Ryanair lost a bid to block the U.K. competition review of its Aer Lingus stake in the court of appeal in December.

Ryanair spokesman Robin Kiely said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

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