June 23: The European Commission has granted regulatory approval for the tie-up of Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines.
Clearance from the EU competition authority was required but it now gives the Lufthansa the green light to acquire an initial 45% stake in SN Airholding SA/NV, the parent company of Brussels Airlines, with an option from 2011 to buy the remaining 55%.
At the same time, Lufthansa has reached agreement with Sir Michael Bishop, the controlling interest in British Midland PLC (bmi), to purchase the airline. Lufthansa will pay some £175 million for Sir Michael’s share option, the deal coming into effect on July 1.
Initially, bmi will remain UK-owned through a subsidiary of Lufthansa. The German airline has been interested in acquiring bmi for its take-off and landing slots at London Heathrow.