JetBlue, the seventh-largest airline in the United States by fleet size, launched a hostile takeover bid for Spirit Airlines — the country's eighth-largest airline — on Monday, two weeks after Spirit rejected an offer from JetBlue.
On March 29, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes sent a letter to Spirit suggesting that "the combination of our two companies would create a leading player best positioned to serve our customers by offering increased flight schedules and more competitive fares," according to CNBC. A formal offer of $33 per share followed. The offer also included a reverse break-up fee of $200 million — or $1.80 per share — if regulators blocked the deal.
Spirit rejected JetBlue's offer, arguing that antitrust regulators were likely to reject the deal and pushing for a higher reverse break-up fee.
After Spirit rejected JetBlue's offer, Hayes penned an open letter to Spirit shareholders accusing the airline's board of "prioritizing its own self-interest and personal relationships with Frontier over its shareholders' interests."
The smaller Frontier Airlines is also angling to acquire Spirit, Reuters reports.