CMA victory in battle over Ryanair’s stake in Aer Lingus

12 Feb 2015

The CMA today scored a third Court of Appeal victory in the long running battle over Ryanair’s stake in rival airline, Aer Lingus.

Since the CMA first opened its investigation in 2010, Ryanair has brought a series of challenges, first to the investigation itself (alleging the CMA had no jurisdiction), and later to the CMA’s final decision, which required Ryanair to reduce its stake to 5%.

The Court of Appeal today held:

  • That the CMA’s procedure had been fair, and that Ryanair had had the opportunity to respond fully to the case affecting it;
  • That the CMA was entitled to impose a remedy which removed the realistic possibility of a substantial lessening of competition (rather than merely making an SLC less than probable); and
  • That requiring divestiture of the shareholding did not conflict with any (hypothetical) future decision of the European Commission to allow Ryanair to make a bid for Aer Lingus.

Daniel Beard QC, Rob Williams and Alison Berridge represented the CMA.

Please click to view the judgment in Ryanair Holdings plc v Competition and Markets Authority