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IAG Will Need to Charm ‘Kingmaker’ Ryanair to Buy Aer Lingus

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IAG SA Chief Executive Officer Willie Walsh, having won over Irish lawmakers for his plan to buy Aer Lingus Group Plc, will next have to tackle the combative boss of Europe’s biggest discount carrier to secure the takeover.

Ryanair Holdings Plc, Aer Lingus’s largest shareholder with a 29.8 percent stake, has been careful to avoid commenting on whether it favors a deal, though CEO Michael O’Leary has said the airline is open to discussing an offer if a formal approach is made. IAG has said it wants at least 90 percent of Aer Lingus shareholders accepting the bid and it won’t buy without a commitment from both the government and Ryanair.