Ryanair set for take-OFT

It might not give you a free meal, but Ryanair has always done its bit when it comes to providing good copy. And chief exec Michael O’Leary hasn’t let us down this time as he gears up for what is set to be one of the legal set-tos of the year.

The budget airline is challenging the OFT over its decision to investigate the takeover of rival carrier Aer Lingus – a deal that was left grounded back in 2007.

Firebrand Mikey has already been in fine form: “It would appear that the highly paid bureaucrats in the OFT have nothing better to do than waste time and scarce public resources enquiring into a five-year-old failed takeover offer.”

Don’t hold back there, son.

“This waste of time and resources by the OFT is remarkable,” he continues.

Waste of any kind is, of course, anathema to anyone connected with Ryanair. But the airline that would make you think twice about spending a penny is prepared to splash the cash to defend its reputation.

It has enlisted Monckton Chambers silk John Swift QC in its challenge to the OFT probe. But it’s set to be an internecine affair at the Competition Appeal Tribunal as the watchdog has turned to another Mocnktonian in the shape of its standing counsel Daniel Beard (see story).

Monckton is one of the sets leading the way in competition litigation this year, with its barristers claiming roles on BSkyB’s barney with Ofcom and the OFT tobacco price-fixing appeal (see story).

With Ryanair on board too, it really is a flight to quality…