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Spirit again delays shareholder merger vote to proceed talks with Frontier, JetBlue

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A Spirit Airlines plane on the tarmac on the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on February 07, 2022 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Spirit Airlines on Wednesday delayed shareholder vote on its proposed merger with Frontier Airlines until July 8, hours before a gathering scheduled for Thursday so it could possibly further discuss options with Frontier and rival suitor JetBlue Airways.

It’s the second time Spirit has delayed a vote on its planned combination with Frontier and extends essentially the most contentious battle for a U.S. airline in years.

Spirit originally scheduled Thursday’s vote for June 10 but had delayed that for a similar reasons.

Each Frontier and JetBlue have upped their offers within the week before the scheduled vote approached.

Frontier and Spirit first announced their intent to merge in February. In April, JetBlue made an all-cash, surprise bid for Spirit, but Spirit’s board has repeatedly rejected JetBlue’s offers, arguing a JetBlue takeover would not pass muster with regulators.

Either combination would create the US’ fifth-largest carrier.

JetBlue has fired back at Spirit, saying it didn’t negotiate in good faith, setting off a disagreement between the airlines as they competed for shareholder support ahead of the vote.

Frontier and JetBlue didn’t immediately comment concerning the postponed vote.

Spirit shares were up about 2% in afterhours trading, while Frontier was up greater than 1% and JetBlue was down 1%.

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