Spirit Airlines postpones vote on Frontier merger a third time

Spirit has postponed the vote on the Frontier merger until at least July 15

Spirit Airlines has again postponed a shareholder vote on a proposed merger with Frontier Airlines to continue talks with Frontier and rival bidder JetBlue Airways.

The vote was to be held Friday and has been pushed back until at least July 15.

The Frontier deal is favored by the Spirit board, however the delay is seen as an indication that the merger of the two discount airlines lacks shareholder support in the face of a JetBlue bid that is higher in current value.

Spirit and Frontier in bidding war

A Frontier Airlines airplane taxis past a Spirit Airlines aircraft at Indianapolis International Airport in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

It was the third time that Spirit has called off the vote. Two prior scheduled votes were canceled last month.

SPIRIT DELAYS VOTE ON FRONTIER DEAL

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said he was encouraged by recent talks with Spirit officials "and are hopeful they now recognize that Spirit shareholders have indicated their clear, overwhelming preference for an agreement with JetBlue."

Spirt Airlines delays vote

A Spirit Airlines jet in flight. (iStock)

Frontier declined to comment.

Florida-based Spirit, the nation's largest discount airline, struck a deal with Frontier in February and has stuck with it as a bidding war heated up between Denver-based Frontier and New York-based JetBlue.

SPIRIT SHAREHOLDERS URGED TO VOTE FOR SWEETENED FRONTIER OFFER

Through Thursday, shares of JetBlue have tumbled 43% since it entered the bidding war, more than any other major U.S. airline. 

Frontier has dipped 10% during the same stretch.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
SAVE SPIRIT AIRLINES INC. 2.81 +0.02 +0.72%
ULCC FRONTIER GROUP HOLDINGS 3.76 +0.15 +4.16%
JBLU JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORP. 6.07 +0.09 +1.51%

JETBLUE OFFERS TO BUY SPIRIT AIRLINES FOR ABOUT $3.6 BILLION CASH

JetBlue is offering Spirit shareholders $33.50 in cash, or $3.6 billion. Frontier's bid is mostly stock and only $4.13 per share in cash. 

At Frontier's current stock price, the airline's bid is worth about $22 per share, or $2.4 billion.

Jetblue joined bidding war in April

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

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There have been concerns that a deal with JetBlue would raise issues with antitrust regulators and would block a deal.

JetBlue says it can win antitrust approval, and that Spirit shareholders who believe airline shares will rise can plow the cash they get from JetBlue back into airline stocks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.