Spirit Airlines, target of bidding war, postpones takeover vote

Spirit Airlines, the target of a low-cost airline bidding war, postpones a shareholder vote on Friday on whether to accept one of these takeover offers after a flurry of counter-proposals from Frontier Airlines and JetBlue.

Wednesday’s decision to postpone a vote comes two days after JetBlue improved its offer.

The Miramar, Fla.-based carrier had scheduled a special meeting of shareholders later this week to ask investors to sign off on what has been its preferred bid, from Frontier Airlines of Colorado.

JetBlue offered more money than Frontier, but Spirit rejected those offers, saying such a tie-up would be more likely to be shot down by federal regulators.

The bidding war for Spirit has intensified in recent days, with JetBlue trying to allay fears that the United States is blocking its acquisition.

The New York airline on Monday offered a $350 million reverse severance package payable to Spirit if a deal between the two is not reached for antitrust reasons, exceeding its previous $150 million contingency plan. .

Last month, JetBlue turned hostile in its bid to buy Spirit, pitching its offer directly to the airline’s shareholders. Spirit CEO Ted Christie said JetBlue was more interested in breaking a deal with Frontier than owning Spirit.

Shares of Frontier fell 3%, JetBlue 2% and Spirit less than 1% on Wednesday.

Laura J. Boyer