Ryanair says it has agreed to sell its shares in Irish rival Aer Lingus to IAG, putting the British Airways parent solidly on course to acquire the former Irish national airline.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary says Friday that the budget airline's board has voted unanimously to sell its nearly 30 percent stake in Aer Lingus.

IAG unveiled its 1.3 billion euro ($1.45 billion) takeover bid for Aer Lingus in January. The bid now has won acceptance from all key investors: Ryanair, the Irish government and Aer Lingus' own board.

Grass-roots shareholders are expected to back the offer at a Dublin extraordinary general meeting next week. The deal still requires approval by European Union competition regulators.

The decision formally ends Ryanair's nine-year effort to seize its Dublin-based competitor.