EU unconditionally approves Ryanair purchase of LaudaMotion

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Thursday that it had approved Ryanair's RYA.I planned acquisition of LaudaMotion without conditions.

“The Commission concluded that the transaction would raise no competition concerns in the European Economic Area,” it said in a statement.

LaudaMotion is the company through which former motor racing champion Niki Lauda re-acquired in January 2018 the assets of NIKI, the leisure air carrier he founded in 2003 and which was later integrated into Air Berlin.

Ryanair agreed in March to buy a majority stake in the new Austrian leisure airline in a major push on the German and Austrian markets dominated by Lufthansa LHAG.DE.

The Irish airline, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, had agreed to buy an initial 24.9 percent stake in Vienna-based LaudaMotion. That would rise to 75 percent “as soon as possible”, subject to EU regulatory approval, the airlines said.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald, Philip Blenkinsop, editing by Alexandra Hudson