Frontier or Jetblue? Spirit has once again delayed the vote that will ultimately determine its buyer. The outcome promises to have a significant effect on the shape of American aviation.
A Last-Minute reschedule
The planned shareholder’s meeting that will finalise the merger deal between Spirit and Frontier has been delayed once more. The meeting, which was due to take place on Thursday, was called off on Wednesday evening and has been rebooked to take place on Friday 8 July.
The move suggests that the Spirit board doesn’t trust its shareholders to back the Frontier deal, which is being heavily contested by JetBlue, in an aggressive takeover bid. A negative vote from the shareholders would indicate the desire for a merger with JetBlue rather than Frontier.
JetBlue has launched an intensive campaign aimed at convincing Spirit shareholders to vote against the board’s decision to merge with Frontier. JetBlue accuse the board of partiality, noting prior connections between members of the board and Frontier Chairman Bill Franke. The airline accuse Spirit of “prioritizing its own self-interest and personal relationships with Frontier over its shareholders’ interests,”.
What’s Spirit up to?
This is the second time the shareholder meeting has been pushed back. The original date for the vote was 10 June, before it was delayed until the end of the month. If drawing out the process was an attempt by Spirit to draw out higher bids, then it’s worked phenomenally well. JetBlue has raised it’s price twice in the time since the date was first moved, and Frontier has pushed up its offer to compete.
The airlines’ intentions remain opaque. Would Spirit really consider a merger with JetBlue, or are they simply trying to extract a higher price out of Frontier? Does JetBlue really want a merger, or is their offer, as Spirit claim, merely a “cynical attempt” to disrupt their deal with Frontier? A Frontier merger would make Spirit the fifth-largest airline in America, posing a significant threat to JetBlue. Whatever the outcome may be, it will have a substantial effect on the shape of American aviation.
Who do you think will win the merger deal? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!