JetBlue launches hostile takeover bid of Spirit Airlines

A JetBlue passenger plane in front of a Spirit Airlines plane on a taxiway at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport on Monday, April 25, 2022 (Joe Cavaretta/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Joe Cavaretta | sun guard | Getty Images

JetBlue Airways Monday began a hostile takeover of all the cash Spirit Airlinesdays after the discount company rejected the offer from the larger competitor.

JetBlue, which earlier offered $33 per share, is in a Spirit acquisition battle with it Frontier Holdings Group He argued that the deal would help it better compete with the “Big Four” US airlines that control nearly 80% of the passenger market.

In a letter to Spirit shareholders on Monday, JetBlue offered $30 per share and said it was prepared to “negotiate in good faith a consensual transaction at a price of $33, subject to due diligence.”

Spirit rejected the earlier offer, saying the prospect of it winning regulatory approval was slim.

JetBlue said Monday that it filed a “Vote No” proxy statement urging Spirit shareholders to vote against the planned merger with Frontier, which offered $21.66 in cash and stock per share of the discount company.

Spirit shares are up more than 19% to $20.28 in pre-market trading.

Front and Spirit did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Spirit is scheduled to hold a shareholder meeting on June 10 to vote on its proposed merger with Frontier.

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