Ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) Spirit Airlines has rejected a purchase offer from JetBlue citing a low probability of obtaining antitrust clearance. JetBlue launched the bid, which is competing against a prior merger agreement between Spirit and Frontier Airlines, last month. In spite of JetBlue’s proposal offering significantly more than the current value of Frontier’s bid, Spirit leadership stated in a letter to JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes that its board of directors had found it unnecessary to consider the proposal any longer due to ongoing concerns over likelihood such a deal could be completed and the degree of risk it assigned to the airline’s stockholders.
“Spirit continues to believe in the strategic rationale of the proposed merger with Frontier and is confident that it represents the best opportunity to maximize long-term shareholder value,” said Mac Gardner, chairman of the Spirit board of directors. “After a thorough review and extensive dialogue with JetBlue, the Board determined that the JetBlue proposal involves an unacceptable level of closing risk that would be assumed by Spirit stockholders.”
Spirit reiterated that it is going forward with the merger with Frontier. That deal is expected to close in the second half of the year pending regulatory reviews and stockholder approval. As previously reported by AVweb, the merger agreement with Frontier was announced in February 2022.