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Can’t take no for an answer — JetBlue launches hostile takeover bid for Spirit Airlines

Offering $30 a share in an all cash and fully financed offer, JetBlue wants Spirit shareholders to back away from their merger with Frontier

SHARE Can’t take no for an answer — JetBlue launches hostile takeover bid for Spirit Airlines
A JetBlue airplane.

A JetBlue airplane. On Monday, JetBlue launched a hostile takeover big for Spirit Airlines after the former airline’s board rejected the proposal and decided to stick with Frontier Airlines.

Mark Lennihan, Associated Press

JetBlue on Monday launched a hostile takeover bid for Spirit Airlines after the former airline’s board rejected the proposal and decided to stick with Frontier Airlines, per The New York Times.

Driving the news: Jet Blue released a $30 per share “all cash” offer that is “fully financed,” while urging Spirit shareholders to “vote no” on the merger with Frontier.

What they’re saying: “JetBlue offers more value — a significant premium in cash — more certainty, and more benefits for all stakeholders. Frontier offers less value, more risk, no divestiture commitments, and no reverse break-up fee, despite more overlap on non-stop routes and their own regulatory challenges,” said Robin Hayes, JetBlue CEO.

  • In the release, the company stated that the JetBlue-Spirit merger would become a “viable competitor to the Big Four airlines that control more than 80% of the U.S. market.”
  • Additionally, it pointed out that Frontier’s routes overlap with Spirit, while JetBlue has lesser overlap.
  • JetBlue called Spirit’s antitrust concerns “a smokescreen to distract from the fact that its merger with Frontier faces similar regulatory risk, yet offers no shareholder protections.”

Worth noting: Spirit rejected the $3.6 billion cash offer on April 2, citing that the merger would not be cleared by regulations, and instead, it stuck to the $25.83 share cash offer from Frontier, per CNN.

Flashback: Last year, the Justice Department sued to block a merger between American Airlines and JetBlue on the basis that it is anti-competition.