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Morgan Lewis Secures EU Merger Control Clearance on Flybe Acquisition

July 05, 2019

Morgan Lewis has advised Connect Airways Limited, a consortium comprising Cyrus Capital Partners LP, Virgin Atlantic Limited, and Stobart Group Limited in securing EU merger control clearance for its acquisition of one of Europe’s largest regional airlines, Flybe Group Plc and its subsidiaries. 

The European Commission investigated the impact of the proposed transaction on the market for air transport of passengers on routes from British airports to other European airports as well as some intra-UK routes.

A notable feature of the merger control process was the commission’s issuance of one of the longest and most complex derogation decisions ever issued so as to allow Connect Airways to acquire Flybe’s shares prior to the merger clearance, subject to strict conditions, in particular related to voting rights.

Given the complex nature of the derogation decision, the commission imposed the rare condition of requiring its implementation to be supervised by an independent monitoring trustee during an ongoing review.

Partner Omar Shah led the team advising Connect Airways on the merger clearance and competition regulatory aspects of the transaction. He was assisted by partner Michael Masling in Frankfurt and associates Savas Manoussakis and Meryem Hassan in London, Noelia Martinez and Petra Kupka in Brussels, and Florian Hinderer in Frankfurt. Morgan Lewis is also advising Connect Airways and Cyrus Capital on the corporate aspects of the acquisition of Flybe, led by partner Georgia Quenby. 

See the European Commission’s announcement on the decision.