Spirit Airlines urges shareholders to reject JetBlue’s tender offer

A Spirit Airlines plane taxi takes off at Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado, United States, on Monday, February 7, 2022.

Michael Ciaglo | Bloomberg | beautiful pictures

Spirit Airlines‘the board of directors on Thursday urged its shareholders to refuse JetBlue Airways‘hostile takeover attempt, citing regulatory hurdles and accusing airline of trying to derail plans to merge with fellow discount airline Frontier Airlines.

“Spirit believes JetBlue’s proposals and offers are a skeptical attempt to disrupt Spirit’s merger with Frontier, which JetBlue sees as a competitive threat,” Spirit said in a statement.

JetBlue Launched hostile takeover bid on Monday after Spirit earlier this month rejected an all-cash buyback bid of $33 a share. The tender offer from New York-based JetBlue is $30 a share. JetBlue also urged Spirit shareholders to decline the merger with Frontier at the Spirit shareholder meeting on June 10.

JetBlue said on Thursday that “it is not surprising that Spirit shareholders receive much of the same from Spirit’s Board of Directors,” alleging it has a conflict of interest. JetBlue also said Spirit’s board “continues to ignore the best interests of shareholders by distorting facts to distract from their flawed process and to defend their poor deal with Frontier.”

Spirit’s board of directors considered the offer and said in a declare Thursday, they determined that it is “NOT in the best interest of Spirit and its shareholders.”

In Spirit’s statement, the airline said in negotiations with JetBlue that the airline said it had “100 percent certainty” that the Justice Department would seek to block JetBlue’s acquisition of Spirit.

“This deal is illusory,” Spirit CEO Ted Christie said in an interview Thursday on CNBC.Box of Squaw“regarding the JetBlue bid to acquire Spirit.” It was not going to happen in our opinion and for that reason our board rejected it and implied, again, we think is offensive. “

JetBlue said in a statement Thursday that both transactions “have a similar risk profile.”

Frontier and Spirit in February announced a $2.9 billion cash and stock deal to combine into one giant discount airline.

JetBlue said its $3.6 billion all-cash offering will “drive” its growth. All three airlines use Airbus narrow-body aircraft, with dozens more already on order. Both combinations of airlines would create the fifth largest airline in the United States.

Spirit’s board has said it doesn’t think regulators will approve a relationship with JetBlue, citing its partnership with American Airlines in the Northeast U.S. The Justice Department sued JetBlue and American over that settlement last year with a trial date set for September.

Shares of Spirit fell more than 1% in early trading Thursday, while shares of JetBlue rose modestly. Shares of Frontier fell slightly.

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