Spirit Airlines Inc. said it would consider JetBlue Airways Corp.’s bid to buy the airline for $3.6 billion and open discussions with its prospective buyer, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
JetBlue’s unsolicited offer follows discount airline Frontier Group Holdings Inc.’s announcement in February that planned to buy Spirit for $2.9 billion. In a note sent to Spirit executives on Thursday, CEO Ted Christie wrote that its board has determined that JetBlue’s offer “could reasonably be likely to lead to a ‘Superior Proposal.’”
Christie added that the next step will be for Spirit’s board “to engage in discussions with respect to their proposal,” before adding “this does not mean that our Board has determined that JetBlue’s proposal is … superior to the one we previously agreed to with Frontier.”
JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said in a statement issued Thursday that the company was “pleased the Spirit Board recognizes the compelling value for all stakeholders that JetBlue has offered.”
“We believe JetBlue is the best partner for Spirit, and we look forward to engaging with the Spirit Board to finalize our combination, to create a national low-fare challenger to the four large dominant U.S. carriers that will result in lower fares and better service for customers,” Hayes added. “As a combined company, we expect we will be able to deliver superior value on a national scale to customers, crewmembers, communities, and shareholders.”
Investors looking to increase their exposure to the airline industry before prices take off may want to consider the U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS), a pure-play air travel ETF that tracks an index of companies involved in the air travel industry, including airline operators, manufacturers, airports, and terminal services.
In addition to having holdings in airlines like American, Southwest, United, and Delta, the fund also invests in JetBlue and Spirit. According to the analyst report on ETF Database, most of the fund’s holdings are in North American securities, though it does have smaller allocations to companies in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
JETS has an expense ratio of 0.60%.
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