Spirit Airlines‘ board on Thursday urged its shareholders to reject JetBlue Airways‘ hostile takeover attempt, citing regulatory hurdles and accusing the airline of trying to derail its planned merger with fellow discount carrier Frontier Airlines.
“Spirit believes JetBlue’s proposals and offer are a cynical attempt to disrupt Spirit’s merger with Frontier, which JetBlue views as a competitive threat,” Spirit said in a statement.
JetBlue launched its hostile takeover bid on Monday after Spirit earlier this month rebuffed its surprise $33-a-share, all-cash acquisition bid. The tender offer from New York-based JetBlue was for $30 a share.
JetBlue also urged Spirit shareholders to turn down the combination with Frontier at a June 10 stockholder meeting.
Frontier and Spirit in February announced a $2.9 billion cash-and-stock deal to combine into a discount airline behemoth.
Either combination of the airlines would create the fifth-largest U.S. carrier.
Spirit shares were down roughly 2% in premarket trading Thursday, while JetBlue shares were fractionally lower.