Ryanair Makes Unexpected Foray Into M&A with Bid for Cyprus Airways
Ryanair Holdings Plc will submit a non-binding offer for Cyprus Airways on Friday as Europe’s No. 1 discount carrier seeks to extend its footprint eastward to an island increasingly popular with Russian and Israeli visitors.
Ryanair has emerged as one of a “handful” of interested bidders for the state-owned business after Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary met with Cyprus’s transport minister last week, Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said today.
“We’ve had a positive meeting on both sides and we think there is a good business there to take over,” Jacobs said in an interview. “It gives us access to a really interesting part of Europe that’s going to grow and that part of Europe is easily connected to the Middle East, which is also interesting.”
A more detailed data-collection process will begin if the Cypriot government approves the Ryanair offer, and it could take a “couple of months” to prepare a binding proposal, Jacobs said. A deal would mark a rare foray into acquisitions for the Dublin-based carrier, with O’Leary preferring to enter markets after the demise of local airlines rather than bail them out.