JetBlue launched a hostile takeover bid for Spirit Airlines on Monday and asked shareholders of the low-cost carrier to reject a proposed acquisition by Frontier Airlines.
JetBlue hopes that its move will push Spirit's board to the negotiating table after the board rejected an earlier offer.
Spirit said that it will “carefully review” JetBlue's tender offer and plans to make a recommendation to shareholders within 10 business days. Spirit asked the shareholders not to respond to JetBlue until the board finishes the review.
JetBlue pitched a new offer of $30 per share in cash, or more than $3.2 billion, to Spirit stockholders but said its April 5 offer of $33 per share is still available if Spirit enters negotiations.
Shares of Spirit, based in Miramar, Florida, jumped 13.5% but still closed well below either JetBlue offer, at $19.27.
Spirit's board rejected JetBlue's original $3.6 billion bid on May 2, saying antitrust regulators are unlikely to approve an offer from the New York City airline largely because of its alliance with American Airlines in the Northeast. The Justice Department is suing to block that deal.
Shareholders of Spirit Airlines Inc. are scheduled to vote June 10 on the Frontier bid, which is favored unanimously by the Spirit board. The cash-and-stock offer was valued at $2.9 billion when announced in February, but Frontier's shares have dropped 30% since, reducing the value of the deal.
JetBlue said it reduced the price of its offer because of Spirit's unwillingness to share financial information.