With Frontier Airlines out, JetBlue agrees to buy Spirit for $3.8 billion

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FILE – A line of Spirit Airlines jets sit on the tarmac at Orlando International Airport on May 20, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. Spirit Airlines shareholders could pick a preferred buyer for their airline Wednesday, July 27, 2022, when they are scheduled to vote on one of the offers for the budget carrier. Shareholders appear to be leaning against the bid preferred by Spirit’s board, a merger offer from Frontier Airlines that is currently worth more than $2.6 billion. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)

JetBlue has agreed to buy Spirit Airlines for $3.8 billion in a deal that would create the nation’s fifth largest airline if approved by U.S. regulators.

The agreement Thursday comes a day after Spirit’s attempt to merge with Frontier Airlines fell apart. Spirit had recommended its shareholders approve a lower offer from Frontier, saying that antitrust regulators are more likely to reject the bid from JetBlue.

JetBlue said Thursday that it would pay $33.50 per share in cash for Spirit, including a prepayment of $2.50 per share in cash payable once Spirit stockholders approve the transaction. There’s also a ticking fee of 10 cents per month starting in January 2023 through closing.

The combined airline would have a fleet of 458 aircraft. The airlines will continue to operate independently until after the transaction closes.

 

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