JetBlue and Spirit Airlines reach merger pact


JetBlue Airways Corporation JBLU, +3.58% and Spirit Airlines Inc. SAVE, +3.93% said Thursday they have agreed that JetBlue will acquire Spirit in a deal with an equity value of $3.8 billion that ends a 3-way merger battle with Frontier Group Holdings Inc. ULCC, +6.42%. JetBlue will pay $33.50 a share in cash and a ticking fee of 10 cents per month starting in Jan. 2023 through closing, creating an adjusted enterprise value of $7.6 billion. The new entity will have a combined base of 77 million customers and a fleet of 458 aircraft. It will accelerate JetBlue’s organic growth plan with more than 1,700 daily flights to more than 125 destinations in 30 countries, based on its Dec. 2022 schedule. The deal is expected to close no later than the first half of 2024. “We believe we can uniquely be a solution to the lack of competition in the U.S. airline industry and the continued dominance of the Big Four,” said JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes. Spirit shares rose 4.2% on the news, while JetBlue ticked down 0.1%. Spirit shares have gained 11% in the year to date, whle the U.S. Global JETS ETF JETS, +3.07% has fallen 17% and the S&P 500 SPX, +2.62% has fallen 16%.

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