* Offers 1.40 euros per Aer Lingus share
* Offer values Aer Lingus at 750 million euros
* Says offer represents 28 percent premium
* Says market has changed since last bid rejected
(Adds comment by CEO, more details, share price, background)
By Andras Gergely
DUBLIN, Dec 1 Ryanair (RYA.I), Europe's largest
low-cost airline, on Monday offered to buy Irish rival Aer
Lingus AERL.I for 750 million euros ($970.4 million) or just
half the price of its bid in 2006 which was blocked by the
Ryanair (RYA.L), which already owns 29.82 percent of Aer
Lingus AERL.L, said the all-cash offer at 1.40 euros per share
represented a 28 percent premium over the closing price of Aer
Lingus shares for the 30 days to 28 November 2008.
A spokeswoman for Aer Lingus, which strongly opposed
Ryanair's last offer, declined to comment.
Ryanair's chief executive, Michael O'Leary, told broadcaster
CNBC the economic and regulatory environment had changed
markedly since Ryanair's last move on Aer Lingus was thwarted by
the regulatory authorities.
"It (Aer Lingus) is increasingly viewed as a small,
peripheral airline that has been bypassed by EU consolidation,"
he said. "I think that without this bid Aer Lingus will continue
to be isolated and loss making."
For its latest bid to succeed Ryanair would also have to
overcome opposition from the Irish government and Aer Lingus
employees who both own stakes in the airline and rejected
Ryanair's last offer.
O'Leary said he believed Aer Lingus staff would be more
welcoming this time round given job losses at the airline over
the last two years.
Ryanair (RYAAY.O) said in its offer document that it would
double the size of Aer Lingus's short haul fleet to 33 from 66
over the next five years, creating 1,000 new jobs at the former
Shares in Aer Lingus jumped almost 22 percent in London to
1.36 euros by 0819 GMT, just under the Ryanair offer price.
Ryanair's shares were down 0.3 percent in Dublin at 2.92
euros, while the wider Irish market .ISEQ was up 0.6 percent.
(Additional reporting by Paul Hoskins; Editing by Greg Mahlich)