Spirit shareholders approve takeover by JetBlue after long battle for discount airline

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A JetBlue airliner lands past a Spirit Airlines jet on taxi way at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport on Monday, April 25, 2022. (Joe Cavaretta/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Joe Cavaretta | Sun Sentinel | Getty Images

A majority of Spirit Airlines shareholders have approved a takeover by JetBlue Airways, ending a six-month battle to create the country’s fifth-largest carrier.

Spirit announced the results of the vote after a special shareholder meeting on Wednesday. In April, JetBlue made a $3.8 billion all-cash offer for Spirit, derailing Spirit’s plan for a cash-and-stock deal to merge with Frontier Airlines.

The airlines now must convince federal regulators that that agreement won’t harm competition and drive up fares for consumers, a major hurdle in getting the takeover approved.

“This is an important step forward on our path to closing a combination that will create the most compelling national low-fare challenger to the dominant U.S. carriers,” Spirit Airlines CEO Ted Christie said in a news release. “We look forward to continuing our ongoing discussions with regulators as we work toward completing the transaction and delivering value to Team Members, Guests and stockholders.”

Analysts expected the deal to win shareholder approval. Spirit shares were up 0.7% and JetBlue shares were up 1.1% in premarket trading, moving very little after the results were announced.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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