Spirit Airlines Pauses Shareholders’ Vote  

Spirit Airlines Pauses Shareholders’ Vote   

Spirit, initially set to vote on the Frontier deal on June 10, said it had not changed its recommendation favoring the Frontier deal on Wednesday.

The company earlier this week received an improved offer from JetBlue; it included a higher reverse break-up fee which would be payable to Spirit investors if antitrust reasons stopped the deal.

The low-cost airline said that the Special Meeting was postponed to allow the Spirit Board of Directors to continue discussions with Spirit stockholders, Frontier and JetBlue Airways.

Spirit shares fell 1.2% before the bell; JetBlue and Frontier traded slightly higher.

U.S. carriers have been trying to expand their domestic footprints while being dogged by persistent labor and aircraft shortages. Either of the two deals for Spirit will create the fifth-largest U.S. airline.

Last week, proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis recommended Spirit investors back the Frontier deal. In contrast, another proxy firm, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc, advised against it.

What Has Happened so Far?

May 31 Proxy advisory firm ISS urges Spirit shareholders to vote against the proposed merger with Frontier on June 2. Frontier agreed to pay a break-up fee of $250 million in a bid; this way it would salvage its $2.9 billion acquisition of Spirit Airlines on 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.

On June 6, JetBlue sweetened 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.