EU unconditionally approves Ryanair purchase of LaudaMotion

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
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

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Thursday that it had approved Ryanair's 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 .

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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