$3.8B JetBlue-Spirit Airlines Merger Is No More

After court blocked the deal, airlines say they're unlikely to meet regulatory hurdles by the deadline
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 4, 2024 8:58 AM CST
JetBlue, Spirit Airlines End Their Planned $3.8B Merger
A JetBlue Airways Airbus A320 passes a Spirit Airlines Airbus A320 as it taxis on the runway, July 7, 2022, at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida. JetBlue and Spirit Airlines are ending their proposed $3.8 billion combination after a court ruling blocked the merger.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

JetBlue and Spirit Airlines are ending their proposed $3.8 billion combination after a court ruling blocked their merger, reports the AP. JetBlue said Monday that even though both companies still believe in the benefits of a combination, they were unlikely to meet the required closing conditions before the July 24 deadline and mutually agreed that terminating the deal was the best decision for both. "Given the hurdles to closing that remain, we decided together that both airlines' interests are better served by moving forward independently," JetBlue CEO Joanna Geraghty said in a statement. Spirit CEO Ted Christie lamented the demise of "a deal that would save hundreds of millions for consumers and create a real challenger to the dominant 'Big 4'" US airlines.

JetBlue will pay Spirit a $69 million termination fee. The Justice Department sued to block the merger last year, saying it would reduce competition and drive up fares, especially for travelers who depend on low-fare Spirit. In January, a federal district judge in Boston sided with the government and blocked the deal, saying it violated antitrust law. The airlines had appealed, and the appeal hearing had been set for June. New York-based JetBlue had argued that the merger would help it compete more effectively against bigger airlines. But there were continuing losses and other problems at Spirit, which is based in Miramar, Florida. Last week JetBlue had previously warned that it might terminate the agreement. Shares of JetBlue Airways Corp. rose more than 5% before the market open, while Spirit's stock slipped more than 13%.

(More mergers and acquisitions stories.)

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