Spirit Airlines plans June vote on Frontier’s merger offer

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
With the control tower in the background, a Frontier Airlines jet taxis at Denver International Airport on Wednesday, October 20, 2021.

Spirit Airlines shareholders are scheduled to vote June 10 on a $2.9 billion buyout offer from Frontier Airlines.

Shareholders will be voting, in effect, whether to take Frontier’s bid and reject a higher offer from JetBlue Airways. The special meeting was detailed in a regulatory filing by Spirit and Frontier. JetBlue did not immediately comment on Wednesday.

Spirit’s board supports the Frontier deal because of uncertainty about JetBlue’s ability to win approval for its $3.6 billion offer from antitrust regulators.

Spirit shareholders would get more cash from the JetBlue offer. However, Frontier’s proposal would give Spirit shareholders 48.5 percent of shares in a combined airline, meaning they could come out ahead if the new company’s stock rises in value.

Both Frontier and JetBlue say that acquiring Spirit would help them compete against the nation’s four dominant airlines.

JetBlue would eliminate Spirit as a so-called ultra-low-cost airline, while Frontier would not. The U.S. Justice Department and several states have already sued to block a JetBlue regional partnership with American Airlines on the grounds that it reduces competition.