Spirit Airlines sets shareholder vote on sale to JetBlue

FILE - A JetBlue Airways Airbus A320, left, passes a Spirit Airlines Airbus A320 as it taxis on the runway, July 7, 2022, at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Spirit shareholders have a date for voting on the sale of their airline to JetBlue for about $3.7 billion. Spirit said in a regulatory filing that the vote will happen on Oct. 19. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File) (Wilfredo Lee, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

MIRAMAR, Fla. – South Florida-based Spirit Airlines has scheduled a shareholder vote on JetBlue’s proposed $3.7 billion acquisition of the airline for Oct. 19.

Investors who owned Spirit shares on Monday will be eligible to vote, the airline said in a securities filing.

The sale would still need approval from U.S. antitrust regulators, a process that is expected to take several months.

Spirit’s board approved a sale to JetBlue on July 28. Spirit leaders preferred a merger with Frontier Airlines, but that stock-and-cash deal, worth far less, failed to gain enough support from Spirit shareholders.

JetBlue leaders believe that buying Spirit will give their airline enough heft to be a more formidable challenger to the dominant U.S. carriers: American, United, Delta and Southwest.

The addition of Spirit’s fleet would result in New York-based JetBlue having around 450 planes and make it the fifth-largest U.S. airline.

Spirit shares were nearly unchanged at $22.93 in afternoon trading Tuesday, well below JetBlue’s offer of $33.50 per share plus a ticking fee to cover the time regulators need to review the deal.

Spirit started as a charter operator and now operates as a so-called ultra-low-cost carrier that has low fares but adds more fees than conventional carriers. It is based in Miramar.

Back in July, Local 10 News spoke with industry experts about what the sale could mean for flyers and South Florida.

In statements following the sale, the companies committed to maintaining a South Florida presence. Spirit continues work on a new headquarters in Dania Beach.

About the Authors:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.