Jet Blue launches hostile takeover attempt for Spirit

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JetBlue launched an all-cash, fully financed tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Spirit Airlines for $30 per share or about $3.3 billion. It also offered a higher price, if Spirit’s board agrees to negotiations.

Spirit Airlines photo.

It followed the discount carrier’s rejection of Jet Blue’s earlier offer and acceptance of a slightly lower offer from Frontier Airlines.

Fronter, which announced Friday it will exit Wilmington-New Castle Airport for the second time in seven years, has a similar operating style to Spirit, offering discounted tickets with added charges for luggage and seat assignments.

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Current Delaware Wilmington-New Castle Airport Manager the Delaware River and Bay Authority mentioned the merger in commenting on Frontier’s decision to end service.

Frontier, Jet Blue, and Spirit all serve Philadelphia International Airport. Both Spirit and Frontier have expanded service out of Philadelphia in the past year, with Frontier now serving more than 30 cities with nonstops that often operate a few days a week Spirit typically operates daily service.

Jet Blue also launched an effort to convince Spirit shareholders not to accept an offer from Frontier Airlines.

“Given the Spirit Board of Directors’ complete unwillingness to share the same necessary diligence information that was shared with Frontier, JetBlue is now offering to acquire Spirit for $30 per share in cash through a fully financed tender offer. This represents a 60% premium to the value of the Frontier transaction as of May 13, 2022 – a very compelling offer and higher than the premium implied by JetBlue’s original proposal. JetBlue is fully prepared to negotiate in good faith a consensual transaction at $33, subject to receiving necessary diligence,” a release stated.

JetBlue launched a website at www.JetBlueOffersMore.com and issued a letter to Spirit shareholders detailing the benefits of its transaction, the certainty of closing, and the misleading statements made by Spirit. In the letter, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes stated.

Jet Blue’s business model is closer to the one used by carriers like American and Delta, with more services such as TV monitors in seatbacks.

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