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Spirit Airlines turns down JetBlue offer, favors Frontier

Spirit Airlines turns down JetBlue offer, favors Frontier

In April, Spirit Airlines’ Board of Directors said that after speaking with financial and legal advisers, it believed JetBlue’s offer could “reasonably” turn out to be a better deal than the one offered to Spirit by Frontier Airlines.

But today, Spirit Airlines’ officials announced that it was determined that JetBlue Airways’ offer “is not reasonably capable of being consummated,” and the board still supports Frontier Airlines’ $2.9 billion takeover bid for the Florida-based carrier.

Frontier Airlines and JetBlue Airways are battling for Spirit Airlines to better compete with legacy carriers, or the “big four” airlines that control nearly 80% of the US passenger market.

Spirit Airlines has rejected an acquisition offer from JetBlue, saying it feared JetBlue’s competing $3.6 billion offer would not be cleared by antitrust regulators and its board of directors continues to back the bid made by Frontier in February and views it as the best way to maximize value.

In a letter sent to JetBlue, Spirit Chairman Mac Gardner said that JetBlue’s bid had “an unacceptable level of closing risk” that shareholders would have to take on.

“We believe a combination of JetBlue and Spirit has a low probability of receiving antitrust clearance so long as JetBlue’s Northeast Alliance (NEA) with American Airlines remains in existence,” Spirit said in a letter to JetBlue Chief Executive Robin Hayes today.

Spirit Airlines anticipates a deal with Frontier closing in the second half of the year.

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