JetBlue sends Spirit Airlines a third merger proposal

Photo (c) JillianCain - Getty Images

Better pay, benefits, and job retention have been added to entice shareholders

JetBlue has come knocking on Spirit Airlines' door again. On Monday, Spirit confirmed that JetBlue sent its third proposal to acquire every last outstanding share of Spirit's common stock that’s available, enabling Spirit to call off its other proposed merger with Frontier Airlines.

By this time, Spirit’s Board of Directors knows the drill. Because it has fiduciary duties to honor, the Board will work with its financial and legal advisors to appraise what JetBlue is pitching, then decide what its next step would be depending on what it considers to be the best interests of both the company and its stockholders. 

Enticing shareholders

In its latest effort, JetBlue sent a message to Spirit team members in a not-so-shy effort to curry some favor from within.

“We know this process may be unsettling, and we thought you might like to hear from us directly. We do not want all the conversation about a ‘hostile’ takeover to discourage you about your potential future with JetBlue should we reach an agreement with Spirit,” the letter said.

JetBlue went on to pitch all the perks it has laid on the table so far: higher pay, better benefits, retention incentives, and the fact that it’s never furloughed any crewmembers or been sent a WARN Act notice in its 22-year history. The furlough pitch might have some interest for Spirit employees since the airline went through a small furlough and got dangerously close to another in 2020.

“More than anything, we want you to know that we are genuinely excited about the opportunity to combine with Spirit. We have so much respect for Spirit Team Members and believe we can bring together the best of both airlines to create a new national low-fare carrier to go up against the Big Four,” JetBlue stated.

Until its board members change their minds, Spirit appears fully committed to its deal with Frontier and is out trying to muster some Yes votes of its own. On its special “VoteSpiritFrontier” website, the airline tells voters that "everyone wins" if they vote for the Frontier deal.

“Everyone wins. A vote FOR the merger is a vote FOR even more ultra-low fares to more places,” the airlines stated. “This is the right deal for Spirit and its shareholders.”

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