Irish government agrees to sell its Aer Lingus stake to AIG

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

DUBLIN (AP) — The Irish government says it intends to sell its 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus to AIG after receiving guarantees that the parent company of British Airways will increase employment and air links with the United States.

AIG, which also operates Spain's Iberia airline, confirmed revised terms of its takeover offer as Ireland's Cabinet announced its decision Tuesday night.

To succeed, AIG still must persuade the Irish airline's largest shareholder — rival carrier Ryanair — to accept the offer valuing Aer Lingus at 1.4 billion euros ($1.52 billion). Ryanair holds 30 percent of Aer Lingus shares because of its own three thwarted takeover bids, but has yet to talk directly with AIG.

Ireland's business and tourism chiefs welcomed the decision. But labor unions expressed reservations.