Spirit Cancels Frontier Deal, JetBlue Talks Continue

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Spirit Airlines has formally canceled a proposed $2.7 billion sale to Frontier Airlines after shareholders refused to back the deal. According to the financial papers, that makes Spirit ripe for the picking by JetBlue, which announced its interest in acquiring Spirit a few months ago. JetBlue is offering a billion dollars more for Spirit, but Spirit officials are worried that a merger would result in antitrust action by the federal government because of JetBlue’s partnership with American Airlines in the lucrative Northeast.

Regardless, the Frontier deal is off and negotiations with JetBlue may result in a deal in a few weeks. “We are pleased that the merger agreement with Frontier has been terminated and we are engaged in ongoing discussions with Spirit toward a consensual agreement as soon as possible,” JetBlue said in a statement. Unions representing staff at Spirit are opposing a deal with JetBlue. “If a JetBlue-Spirit deal does happen, we hope regulators will step in and recognize that combining these airlines could lead to job cuts and reduced choices for consumers,” the Transportation Workers Union said in a news release. 

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