Spirit Airlines is not convinced yet that the unsolicited offer of JetBlue ‘constitutes a superior proposal’ compared to that of Frontier Airlines, but it could be. It is open to engaging in discussions with JetBlue, Spirit says in a short media statement that was released late on April 7. Spirit’s Board not convinced yet of superior proposal JetBlue.
The statement says: “Spirit Airlines today announced that its Board of Directors has determined, after consultation with the Company’s outside financial and legal advisors, that the unsolicited proposal received from JetBlue Airways to acquire Spirit in an all-cash transaction for $33.00 per share could reasonably be likely to lead to a “Superior Proposal” as defined in Spirit’s merger agreement with Frontier Group Holdings.”
But Spirit adds: “Spirit remains bound by the terms of the merger agreement with Frontier, and Spirit’s Board has not determined that JetBlue’s proposal in fact constitutes a Superior Proposal as defined in the merger agreement with Frontier.”
On April 5, JetBlue made an unsolicited offer of $3.6 billion compared to the $2.9 billion offered by Frontier on February 7. According to JetBlue, the combination with Spirit “would position JetBlue as the most compelling national low-fare challenger to the four large dominant US carriers by accelerating JetBlue’s growth and expanding the reach of the “JetBlue Effect.” In an investor’s call, CEO Robin Hayes said that acquiring Spirit will ‘turbocharge’ JetBlue’s growth to make it a low-fare, national carrier.
But this is only from JetBlue’s perspective. If an acquisition equally benefits Spirit from a commercial and network point of view is debated by analysts, who also state that consumers are likely to benefit less from JetBlue/Spirit than from the merger of two ultra-low-cost carriers Frontier/Spirit.
In its release, Spirit makes a disclaimer: “In addition, Spirit notes that there can be no assurance that the discussions with JetBlue will result in a transaction. Spirit shareholders do not need to take any action at this time, and Spirit’s Board has made no change to its recommendation that its shareholders adopt the merger agreement with Frontier.”
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.