Aer Lingus has confirmed it is “willing” to accept a takeover offer of €2.55 a share from British Airways owner IAG.
The Irish carrier said the proposed €1.36 billion bid is “subject to certain pre-conditions” and has granted IAG access to perform a "limited period of confirmatory due diligence".
Aer Lingus has also told IAG that the offer is subject to “addressing the interests of relevant parties”. That is thought to be Ryanair, which has a 29.8 per cent stake and the Irish government, which owns 25 per cent.
“The board of Aer Lingus has indicated to IAG that the financial terms of the proposal are at a level at which it would be willing to recommend to Aer Lingus shareholders, subject to being satisfied with the manner in which IAG proposes to address the interests of relevant parties,” IAG said in a statement.
IAG said if a takeover deal is complete, Aer Lingus would operate as a separate business with its own brand, management and operations.
Aer Lingus would also join Oneworld alliance, of which British Airways and Iberia are members of.
The tentative acceptance of the deal follows two offers that were rejected by the Aer Lingus board.
One of the main attractions of the deal for IAG is Aer Lingus’ valuable take-off and landing slots at British Airways’ main base at Heathrow. The Irish carrier is the third largest airline at the airport.