JetBlue Airways said Monday that it plans a hostile corporate takeover of Spirit Airways.
The New York-based carrier will appeal directly to Spirit’s shareholders, bypassing that airline’s board of directors, with a $30 per share offer.
The move comes after the ultra-low-cost carrier rejected JetBlue’s $3.6 billion offer in favor of a merger with Frontier Airlines.
The airline cited anti-trust considerations in turning down the offer.
“We believe a combination of JetBlue and Spirit has a low probability of receiving antitrust clearance so long as JetBlue’s Northeast Alliance with American Airlines remains in existence,” Spirit said in a letter to JetBlue released on Monday.
“Given this substantial completion risk, we believe JetBlue’s economic offer is illusory, and Spirit’s board has not found it necessary to consider it.”
Meanwhile, JetBlue remains intent on completing the acquisition, having warned Spirit of the likelihood of a hostile corporate takeover at the time its offer was turned down. It sees the acquisition as a way of increasing the size of its fleet and its network, as well as the number of pilots on its roster.
“JetBlue offers more value – a significant premium in cash – more certainty, and more benefits for all stakeholders” said JetBlue’s CEO, Robin Hayes, in a statement. “Frontier offers less value, more risk, no divestiture commitments, and no reverse break-up fee, despite more overlap on non-stop routes and their own regulatory challenges.”
(Photo: Accura Media Group)