European Court of Justice: Aer Lingus’s request for interim measures to prevent Ryanair from exercising its voting rights rejected

In 2006, following the privatisation of Aer Lingus by the Irish government, Ryanair acquired a 19.16% stake in that company. On 23 October 2006 Ryanair launched a public bid for the entire share capital of Aer Lingus and, one week later, notified the Commission of the proposed acquisition in accordance with the Community Merger Regulation1. During the bid period Ryanair acquired further shares and by 26 November 2006 held 25.17% of the share capital.On 27 June 2007 the Commission adopted a decision declaring the acquisition to be incompatible with the common market. Ryanair brought an action against that decision before the CFI (Case T-342/07). Following this decision Ryanair acquired further shares, bringing its total shareholding to 29.4%.Both during the procedure that led to the Prohibition Decision, and subsequent to that decision, Aer Lingus asked the Commission to order Ryanair to divest itself of its shareholding in Aer Lingus. This request was refused by the Commission in a decision of 11 October 2007, stating that it was not within its power under the Merger Regulation to order such a divestiture where the intended acquisition had not been implemented and where Ryanair had only a minority shareholding which did not permit it to exercise de jure or de facto control over Aer Lingus.On 19 November 2007 Aer Lingus lodged an action for annulment against that decision before the Court of First Instance. Simultaneously, Aer Lingus filed a request for interim measures, requesting, in essence, that Ryanair be ordered to refrain from exercising its voting rights in Aer Lingus pending the outcome of the case.As neither the condition of a prima facie case, nor the condition of urgency has been satisfied, the President of the Court of First Instance has dismissed the request by order of 18. March 2008.Source: ECJ press release in Case T-411/07 R; find full text here>>.

Leave a Comment