Spirit tells shareholders to reject hostile bid from JetBlue

Spirit Airlines is advising shareholders to reject a tender offer for shares from JetBlue three days after it went hostile in its bid to create what would be the nation’s fifth largest airline.

Spirit repeated Thursday that any attempt to merge with JetBlue would face substantial regulatory hurdles, largely because of JetBlue’s alliance with American Airlines in the Northeast.

The Justice Department is suing to block that deal.

JetBlue offered to buy Spirit Airlines after a proposed acquisition of that carrier by Frontier Airlines, a deal that Spirit is backing despite a lower offering price.