A Frontier Airlines plane nears a Spirit Airlines plane at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on May 16, 2022 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Joe Riddell | Getty Images
Spirit Airlines has again postponed a shareholder vote scheduled for Friday on its merger deal with Frontier Airlines, a win for rival JetBlue Airways, which wants to buy Spirit immediately.
This is the third time that Spirit has postponed the vote, which was scheduled for June 10. It was later postponed to June 28, but Spirit delayed it until July 8 last week, a day before the vote.
Spirit said Thursday it will now hold a vote on July 15 so it can continue deal talks with the two airlines.
The delays bode well for JetBlue Airways, which swooped in with a $3.6 billion cash offer to buy Spirit in April. Two months ago, Front and Spirit announced a $2.9 billion cash deal to pool in a discount giant.
“We are encouraged by our discussions with Spirit and hope that they now recognize that Spirit shareholders have indicated their clear and charming preference for an agreement with JetBlue,” JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said in a statement after the latest delay.
Spirit’s board of directors has repeatedly rejected JetBlue’s offers, including sweetened proposals, arguing that it does not believe regulators will sign off on the deal. JetBlue said both deals would face regulatory scrutiny, and Hayes said Spirit’s board of directors had not given JetBlue’s offerings full consideration.
It wasn’t clear if Spirit would get the shareholder support it needed to pass the Frontier deal before the last scheduled meeting, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Frontier, which has also improved its bid for Spirit, nearly doubling the cash portion to $4.13 per share, did not immediately comment on the latest vote delay.
Spirit shares are up 2% in after-hours trading, while Frontier shares are down less than 1%. JetBlue has changed a bit.