Spirit Airlines once again rejected a sweetened takeover offer from JetBlue Airlines, citing antitrust concerns and asked its shareholders to vote for a merger with rival Frontier Group at a meeting tomorrow.
In the latest offer, JetBlue raised the value of the offer to $34.15 per share, representing a 51% premium to Spirit’s stock. It also raised the breakup fee by $50 million to $400 million if the deal fails to get regulatory approval.
According to Spirit CEO Ted Christie, the latest offer from JetBlue does nothing to address their board’s concerns that a merger with JetBlue would not get regulatory approval.
Frontier’s latest cash-and-stock offer was valued at $22.03 per share, well below JetBlue’s bid. Frontier and JetBlue are fighting to create the fifth-largest airline that can take on legacy airlines in the U.S.
Proxy advisory firm ISS says it is reluctant to change its recommendation that Spirit shareholders vote in favor of the Frontier offer so close to tomorrow’s vote.
Shares of Spirit Airlines (SAVE) rose 1.1% yesterday, closing at $22.82 per share.
"JetBlue and its shareholders stand to lose more if its bid is rejected by Spirit's shareholders given that it doesn't have a clearer path to growth, without adding another airline with more routes and planes to help it compete against the big four," said Caleb Silver, Editor-in-Chief of Investopedia.