Spirit-JetBlue plan merger talks: Travel Weekly

Spirit Airlines will engage in discussions with JetBlue regarding the merger proposal proferred by the New York-based carrier on Tuesday.

The announcement came after Spirit’s board of directors determined that JetBlue’s purchase offer of $3.6 billion and $33 per share could be a “superior proposal” to the $2.9 billion and $26 per share that Frontier would pay under the merger agreement Frontier and Spirit entered into in February.

“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,” the Fort Lauderdale-based discount carrier said. “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.”

• Related: Will a Spirit-Frontier merger get the DOJ’s blessing?

The announcement generated a quick response from JetBlue late Thursday night.

“We are pleased the Spirit board recognizes the compelling value for all stakeholders that JetBlue has offered,” CEO Robin Hayes, said. “We believe JetBlue is the best partner for Spirit, and we look forward to engaging with the Spirit board to finalize our combination, to create a national low-fare challenger to the four large dominant U.S. carriers that will result in lower fares and better service for customers.”

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