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JetBlue Ups Ante Again to Acquire Spirit

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JetBlue has upped its bid once more for Spirit Airlines to
$33.50 per share in cash, valued at $3.7 billion, surpassing its June
6 offer of $31.50 per share, and its initial April price of $33 per share, the
company announced Monday. The offer includes $32 per share at the closing of
the deal and a prepayment of $1.50 per share in cash. 

Spirit initially
had rejected the JetBlue offer in favor of its February
merger agreement with Frontier for $2.9 billion, citing concerns the
JetBlue deal would not meet regulatory approval because of a pending
antitrust suit against JetBlue’s “Northeast Alliance” with
American Airlines.

JetBlue on Monday said it had made “additional
regulatory commitments,” however, it still was unwilling to abandon the
Northeast Alliance. In its June 20 proposal, JetBlue would commit to an
“express obligation to litigate and to divest assets of JetBlue and Spirit
up to a material adverse effect on the combined JetBlue-Spirit, with a limited
carve-out to this divestiture obligation for actions that would be reasonably
likely to materially and adversely affect the anticipated benefits under
JetBlue’s Northeast Alliance.” 

The carrier also committed to a “proactive offer to the
[U.S.] Department of Justice of a remedy package that contemplates the
divestiture of all Spirit assets located in New York and Boston so, as a result
of this transaction, JetBlue will not increase its presence in the airports
covered by our Northeast Alliance, as well as gates and related assets in Fort
Lauderdale.”

The new JetBlue proposal continues to offer a reverse
break-up free of $350 million should the transaction not be completed for
antitrust reasons.

Spirit had been scheduled to vote on its merger agreement on
June 10, but postponed
the special meeting until June 30.

JetBlue’s most recent proposal was submitted at the request
of Spirit’s board of directors, and following completion of JetBlue’s due
diligence review and discussions with Spirit’s management team, according to JetBlue.



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