July 12, 2018 / 6:08 PM / 9 days ago

EU unconditionally approves Ryanair purchase of LaudaMotion

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

FILE PHOTO: A Ryanair logo is seen on a wing of a passenger aircraft travelling from Madrid International Airport to Bergamo Airport, Italy, January 14, 2018. Picture taken January 14, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

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

FILE PHOTO: A button with the Laudamotion logo is seen at a flight attendant's jacket in Duesseldorf, Germany, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

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

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