Battle for Spirit Airlines enters final stretch
(Reuters) -Spirit Airlines Inc on Tuesday rejected JetBlue Airways Corp’s latest sweetened offer and recommended that shareholders vote in favor of a merger with Frontier Group Holdings Inc at a meeting on Thursday.
Below are the key events of the takeover saga:
Feb. 7 Frontier makes a cash-and-stock offer of $25.83/share for Spirit
Feb. 8 Lawyers from the U.S. Justice Department say Spirit and Frontier’s
merger to create the fifth-largest airline in the country would
face close scrutiny
March 10 Several public advocacy groups call on U.S. regulators to block
Frontier’s bid for Spirit
April 5 JetBlue makes an unsolicited $3.6 billion, or $33/share, all-cash
bid for Spirit
April 6 JetBlue mounts a vigorous defense of its unsolicited $3.6 billion
bid for Spirit, adding that it is “highly confident” of securing
April 7 Spirit says that it would enter into discussions with JetBlue on
its $3.6-billion offer as it could likely lead to a “superior
proposal” to the one from Frontier
May 2 Spirit rejects JetBlue’s $33/share offer, saying it had a low
likelihood of winning regulatory approval
May 10 Head of Sun Country Airlines throws his backing behind potential
merger in the ultra-low-cost airline sector
May 11 Spirit says it will hold a shareholder meeting on June 10 for a
vote on its proposed merger with Frontier
May 16 JetBlue makes hostile all-cash takeover offer of $30/share and adds
it was ready to “negotiate in good faith a consensual transaction
May 19 Spirit Airlines urges shareholders to reject the hostile offer from
JetBlue, saying it was “a cynical attempt to disrupt” its merger
May 31 Proxy advisory firm ISS urges Spirit shareholders to vote against a
proposed merger with Frontier
June 2 Frontier agrees to pay a break-up fee of $250 million in a bid to
salvage its $2.9 billion acquisition of Spirit Airlines
June 3 Shareholder advisory firm Glass Lewis recommends Spirit Airlines
investors approve Frontier Group’s $2.9 billion takeover bid,
saying it was the “best available” at this time.
June 6 JetBlue sweetens its takeover bid for Spirit by offering $31.50 per
share in cash, comprising $30 per share at deal close and the
prepayment of $1.50 per share of the reverse break-up fee.
June 8 Spirit Airlines delays to June 30 a shareholder meeting to vote on
its proposed merger with Frontier.
June 14 Spirit Airlines said it was in talks with JetBlue Airways and has
granted JetBlue access to the due diligence information being
shared with Frontier Group. Spirit said it was expecting to decide
on the proposal by the end of this month.
June 20 JetBlue Airways said it had sweetened its takeover offer for Spirit
Airlines to $33.50 per share.
June 24 Frontier bumps up the cash component of the deal by $2 per share to
$4.13 per share, prompting Spirit Airlines to urge its shareholders
back a deal with its ultra-low-cost rival at a meeting next week.
ISS urges Spirit shareholders to vote for a proposed
June 25 merger with Frontier after the carrier sweetened its offer.
June 27 Frontier’s Chief Executive Barry Biffle says the
revised offer for Spirit will be enough to secure a merger deal
with the ultra-low-cost carrier.
June 27 JetBlue ratcheted up its bidding war. Offers a “ticking
fee”, which would give Spirit shareholders a monthly prepayment of
10 cents per share between January 2023 and the closing of the
deal, raising the overall deal value to $34.15 per share.
June 28 ISS says JetBlue’s latest offer is “more favorable” but
maintains its support for the Frontier deal.
June 28 Spirit rejects JetBlue’s sweetened takeover offer and
recommends that shareholders vote in favor of a merger with
Frontier at a meeting on Thursday.
(Reporting by Nathan Gomes, Kannaki Deka and Nilanjana Basu in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Anil D’Silva and Sriraj Kalluvila)