JetBlue buys Spirit Airlines for $3.8 billion

US low cost airline Jet Blue It reached an agreement Thursday to acquire rival Spirit for $3,800 million.

Announcement shoppingWhich has yet to get the green light from regulators and shareholders, comes a day after Frontier, another airline, abandoned its proposed merger with Spirit.

If realized, the new group will become the fifth airline in the United States in terms of the number of places offered, behind the “Big Four” formed by American, United, Delta and Southwest.

It will have 77 million customers and capture 9% of the US market share, according to figures provided by the two companies.

“Spirit and Jet Blue We will continue to advance our common goal of transforming the industry to reduce fares for the Big Four airlines,” said CEO Jet BlueRobin Hayes in a statement.

Spirit and Frontier announced in February its intent to get closer.

But after a few weeks, Jet Blue I was surprised by a better financial offer for Spirit shareholders.

In the face of the rejection of Spirit’s board of directors, Jet Blue It launched a hostile takeover bid in May.

Spirit executives have repeatedly expressed their preference for a deal with Frontier, saying competition authorities would likely be reluctant to partner with Jet Blue. But they did not convince the shareholders.

The extraordinary general meeting to approve the merger with Frontier has been postponed four times and the process has been permanently cancelled.

In the deal announced Thursday, Jet Blue It offers cashout shares of Spirit, at a unit price of $33.50, 38% higher than the stock’s closing price on Wednesday.

The two companies expect to complete the transaction before the end of the first half of 2024.

Spirit shares rose just over 4% to $25.29 in pre-open electronic trading on Wall Street Thursday.

These are from Jet Blue They gained 0.83% to $8.46.

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