Spirit Airlines and JetBlue are discussing acquisition offer

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Spirit's leadership had planned to bring its merger agreement with Frontier to a proxy vote on June 10, but delayed it amid an aggressive campaign by JetBlue to persuade Spirit investors to vote no.
Spirit's leadership had planned to bring its merger agreement with Frontier to a proxy vote on June 10, but delayed it amid an aggressive campaign by JetBlue to persuade Spirit investors to vote no. Photo Credit: Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines is now holding discussions with JetBlue regarding JetBlue's June 6 acquisition offer of $31.50 per share. 

In an update Tuesday, Spirit also noted that it continues to work with Frontier Airlines under the terms of their existing merger agreement. 

"Frontier and JetBlue are being given access to the same due diligence information, on the same terms," Spirit CEO Ted Christie said. "The board expects to bring the process to a conclusion and provide an update to stockholders ahead of the special meeting of Spirit stockholders scheduled for Thursday, June 30."

The statement represents a victory for JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes, who had repeatedly called on Spirit to provide JetBlue with access to the same due diligence information as it was affording Frontier.

Spirit's leadership had planned to bring the merger agreement with Frontier to a proxy vote on June 10, but delayed it amid an aggressive campaign by JetBlue to persuade Spirit investors to vote no.

Under the Spirit-Frontier agreement, Frontier would pay each Spirit investor 1.9126 shares of Frontier stock plus $2.13 in cash for each Spirit share they own. Frontier stock was trading at around $9.10 Tuesday morning, making the value of Frontier's offer approximately $19.60 per share.

Spirit noted Tuesday that it remains bound by its agreement with Frontier, which allows for Spirit to end the arrangement for an alternative, "superior proposal."

The agreement defines a superior proposal as being both more financially favorable to Spirit stockholders and reasonably capable of being finalized.

Christie and the Spirit board have previously contended that a deal with JetBlue would have little chance of getting approval of antitrust regulators at the Justice Department.

JetBlue is currently fighting a Justice Department lawsuit that seeks to break up the carrier's Northeast Alliance in Boston and New York with American. 

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