Commission to decide on Aegean-Olympic deal by April 9

EU antitrust regulators will decide by April 9 whether to clear or block a second bid by Greece’s Aegean Airlines to buy rival Olympic Air, two years after a failed attempt, the European Commission said on Thursday.

Aegean has said the 72-million-euro proposed deal will ensure its survival in Greece’s shrinking air transport market. Its chances of getting regulatory approval may have improved as it has lost market share and it faces a new rival, Cyprus Airways.

The Commission rejected Aegean’s 170-million-euro initial bid in 2011 to buy the debt-ridden Olympic when it was privatized in 2009 because of the combined company’s dominance of the domestic market.

The EU watchdog on Wednesday blocked a third attempt by Ryanair to buy Aer Lingus, again citing the combined company’s market dominance. [Reuters]

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