JetBlue improves its proposal to acquire Spirit Airlines

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JetBlue Airlines announced Monday that it has enhanced its proposal to the Spirit Airlines Board of Directors to acquire all outstanding shares of common stock for $33 in cash per share.

United Airlines kicks off largest transatlantic expansion in its history.

The enhanced proposal offers Spirit shareholders superior financial value and greater security than the Frontier transaction:

  • Divestiture commitment: If necessary, JetBlue would agree to divest assets of JetBlue and Spirit up to a material adverse effect on Spirit, with a limited carve-out for actions that would adversely impact JetBlue’s Northeast Alliance (NEA) with American Airlines.
  • Remedy package to address NEA and regulatory concerns: JetBlue would offer a remedy package that includes the divestiture of all Spirit assets in New York and Boston so that JetBlue does not increase its presence in the airports covered by the NEA. The package would also include gates and assets at other airports, including Fort Lauderdale.
  • Reverse break-up fee: JetBlue would provide for a $200 million reverse break-up fee, representing approximately $1.80 per Spirit share, that would become payable to Spirit in the unlikely event the JetBlue transaction is not consummated for antitrust reasons.
  • Superior, all-cash premium: JetBlue’s proposal continues to offer Spirit shareholders $33 in cash per common share, a 47% premium to the value of the Frontier transaction as of April 29, 2022 and a 52% premium to Spirit’s share price as of February 4, 2022 (b) (the last trading day prior to the Spirit-Frontier announcement).

“By creating a national competitor to the Big Four airlines, this transaction would deliver meaningful benefits for customers, superior value for shareholders of both airlines, and new opportunities for our combined crewmembers,” said Robin Hayes, chief executive officer, JetBlue. “We have confidence that we can complete this transaction to bring more low fares and great service to more customers. A JetBlue-Spirit combination will deliver enhanced financial strength and accelerate revenue growth and profitability for JetBlue shareholders.”

The regulatory commitments in JetBlue’s enhanced offer represent a significant improvement compared to those offered by Frontier. The revised offer comes after Spirit limited JetBlue’s access to important due diligence data yet requested unprecedented commitments from JetBlue that far exceed those in prior airline transactions.