Spirit Airlines, the major air carrier in the United States, has declined the acquisition offer from JetBlue Airways – another large airline in the country. Instead, it’s planning to continue merging with Frontier Airlines.
Spirit stocks fell 10.5%, while JetBlue shares fell 0.9% and Frontier stocks fell 3.8%.
Thanks to this refusal, Spirit Airlines showed that JetBlue’s offer isn’t a “superior proposal” and has a “low probability” of getting antitrust clearance because of its Northeast Alliance (NEA) with American Airlines.
Here’s what the company said in a letter to JetBlue, using the acronym for the ultra-low-cost carrier:
“We’re struggling to understand how JetBlue can believe the DOJ, or a court will be convinced that JetBlue should be allowed to create an anticompetitive alliance, which will agree its interests with a legacy carrier and then undertake an acquisition that will eliminate the largest ULCC carrier.”
On Monday, May 2nd, JetBlue reported that it expanded the supply, which included a divestiture commitment.
However, the company added that they think the offer will unlikely resolve the DOJ's problems with a combination of Spirit and JetBlue if the NEA continues in existence.
In addition, Spirit Airlines asked JetBlue to refuse the NEA with American Airlines, but it doesn’t want to and isn’t going to consider other options.
“Considering this significant risk, we believe JetBlue's economic proposal is illusory, and Spirit's board hasn’t deemed it necessary to take it up.”
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