Spirit Airlines shareholders reject merger with Frontier

A few weeks later, JetBlue made an unsolicited offer for Spirit. But Spirit executives questioned JetBlue’s intentions, suggesting the offer may have been just to spoil the combination with Frontier. Spirit also said antitrust regulators would likely block a JetBlue merger, though experts said either deal would face significant federal scrutiny.

Wednesday’s news doesn’t mean JetBlue’s offer will be accepted, but it could bode well for Spirit in their negotiations.

“Today’s termination simplifies the path to a possible JetBlue-Spirit merger, but does not guarantee such an outcome,” said Jamie Baker and James Kirby, airline analysts at JP Morgan, in a research note. “That said, we are of a ‘no news is good news’ view, as it suggests that Spirit continues to refine its negotiation efforts rather than simply launch and accept JetBlue’s latest public offering.”

It is unclear whether a majority of Spirit shareholders would support an acquisition of JetBlue. And even if they do, regulators could derail the suit or require harsh concessions from companies, such as requiring them to give up flights or airport gates in places where they significantly overlap. .

The Justice Department is already suing JetBlue and American Airlines to prevent a partnership between these airlines at Boston and New York airports, with a trial expected early this fall.

The acquisition of Spirit would accelerate JetBlue’s expansion plans and create the country’s fifth largest airline. Together, the airlines would control around 10.2% of the market, still behind the country’s four dominant carriers. United, the fourth largest airline, has a market share of 13.9%.

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