The race for Spirit Airlines: JetBlue, Frontier jockey for win

Spirit says it will review the offer before its shareholder meeting to discuss the Frontier deal

JetBlue Airlines upped its offer for the highly desired Spirit Airlines Monday to $33.50 per share in cash in an attempt to knock the Frontier deal completely off the table. 

JetBlue's latest bid is $2 per share more than its prior offer on June 6, and 50 cents higher than its original bid in April to acquire all the outstanding common stock of Spirit Airlines Inc. 

Spirit’s board opposed JetBlue's original offer earlier this year, saying antitrust regulators would never allow it. However, in its revised Monday proposal, JetBlue said it strengthened its commitment to divestitures needed to satisfy regulators but won’t drop a controversial partnership with American Airlines in the northeast U.S.

Spirit

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The carrier's "further improved proposal" Monday comes just ahead of when Spirit shareholders are supposed to vote on Frontier's bid, which is slated to occur on June 30.   

SPIRIT, FRONTIER AND JETBLUE: PROS AND CONS

The meeting had originally been planned for June 10. However, Spirit had postponed the meeting days beforehand after JetBlue improved its offer on June 6. The move gave Spirit an extra three weeks to continue merger talks with Frontier, JetBlue and its own shareholders.

However, JetBlue made it clear Monday that they want to move quickly. 

Airlines

A JetBlue airliner lands past a Spirit Airlines jet at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport on April 25, 2022. (Joe Cavaretta/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via / Getty Images)

"Our previous proposal was met with an extremely positive reaction from Spirit stockholders, and we believe they will be even more pleased with these improved terms, including additional regulatory commitments that reflect our confidence in our ability to obtain antitrust approval and are a direct result of our diligence," JetBlue said. 

The carrier added: "We are ready to move quickly to reach a merger agreement, bringing more value to shareholders, more competition to the industry, and more opportunities." 

SPIRIT SNUBS JETBLUE'S $3.6B TAKEOVER BID, PREFERS FRONTIER

Spirit announced Monday evening that its "Spirit Board of Directors will work with its financial and legal advisors to evaluate JetBlue's revised proposal and pursue the course of action it determines to be in the best interests of Spirit and its stockholders." 

The budget carrier said it will plan to provide an update to stockholders prior to the postponed meeting next Thursday. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
JBLU JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORP. 8.53 +0.16 +1.91%
ULCC FRONTIER GROUP HOLDINGS 10.17 +0.80 +8.54%
SAVE SPIRIT AIRLINES INC. 24.55 +0.71 +2.98%

"The Board will conduct the evaluation of JetBlue’s revised proposal in accordance with the terms of the Company's merger agreement with Frontier Group Holdings, Inc," the carrier continued. 

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JetBlue has continually repeated that a "JetBlue-Spirit transaction would create a true national competitor" and create value for all stakeholders. 

Meanwhile, Frontier said its deal with Spirit is expected to "drive enhanced value for shareholders of both companies" and add "10,000 direct jobs and thousands of additional jobs at the companies’ business partners by 2026."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.