JetBlue launches hostile takeover bid for Spirit Airlines

JetBlue Airways Corp has commenced a hostile all-cash takeover bid for Spirit Airlines Inc.

Days earlier, the discount carrier rejected an offer from the larger rival.

JetBlue had earlier offered $33 per share. JetBlue has argued a deal will help better compete with the “Big Four” U.S. airlines that control nearly 80% of the passenger market.

In a letter to Spirit shareholders, JetBlue offered $30 per share and said it was ready to “negotiate in good faith a consensual transaction at $33, subject to receiving necessary diligence”.

JetBlue said it had filed a “Vote No” proxy statement urging Spirit shareholders to vote against the planned merger with Frontier, which has offered $21.66 in cash and stock for each share of the discount carrier.