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News >  Business

Spirit delays shareholder vote after JetBlue ups buyout bid

June 8, 2022 Updated Wed., June 8, 2022 at 9:46 a.m.

JetBlue and Spirit airplanes are shown at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on May 21, 2022.  (Bloomberg)
JetBlue and Spirit airplanes are shown at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on May 21, 2022. (Bloomberg)
By Mary Schlangenstein Bloomberg

Spirit Airlines’ board postponed a crucial June 10 vote to gain more time to build shareholder support for a company-backed buyout deal with Frontier Group Holdings, days after JetBlue Airways raised its rival takeover offer to $3.4 billion and added an upfront cash payment.

The balloting was reset for June 30, giving Spirit directors time to continue discussions with Spirit shareholders and both of its suitors, the board said in a statement Wednesday.

Spirit is still bound by terms of the stock-and-cash takeover agreement with Frontier initially valued at $2.9 billion, still recommends that deal and hasn’t determined that JetBlue’s proposal is superior, according to the statement.

Spirit shares rose 0.3% to $22.74 as of 9:45 a.m. in New York. JetBlue fell 1.1% and Frontier lost 1.3%.

JetBlue is hoping its higher bid, which includes an upfront cash payment, eventually will win the approval of Spirit’s board while also building more support among Spirit shareholders for its offer ahead of any future vote.

At stake for JetBlue is possibly its best bet for a fast track to growth that would position it as a more formidable competitor to the four major carriers that dominate the U.S. market.

“We welcome this development as a necessary first step toward genuine negotiation between the Spirit board and JetBlue,” JetBlue Chief Executive Officer Robin Hayes said in a separate statement Wednesday. “Spirit shareholders are clearly urging the Spirit board to engage with us constructively.”

Frontier didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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