- Spirit Airlines has delayed a vote on its planned tie-up with Frontier Airlines for a fourth time.
- Concerns are mounting about a lack of shareholder support.
- Spirit said Wednesday it now plans to hold the vote, most recently scheduled for Friday, on July 27.
Spirit said Wednesday it now plans to hold the vote, most recently scheduled for Friday, on July 27 so it can continue deal talks with Frontier and with JetBlue Airways, whose competing bid for Spirit has thrown the original deal into question.
Over the weekend, Frontier Airlines' CEO, Barry Biffle, wrote to his Spirit counterpart to ask for a delay of the vote to July 27.
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"We still remain very far from obtaining approval from Spirit stockholders," Biffle said in the letter. He said the cash-and-stock offer was Frontier's "best and final" bid.
JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes cheered the latest vote delay Wednesday and said the New York-based carrier has made "significant progress" in its deal talks with Spirit.
"JetBlue is now standing ready to enter into a binding merger agreement with Spirit as soon as practicable," Hayes said in a statement.
Spirit didn't immediately comment on Hayes' statement Wednesday. The airline would have to pay Frontier a more than $94 million breakup fee if it backs out of its merger agreement because it finds the other offer superior.
Spirit previously rebuffed JetBlue's all-cash takeover offers, even in light of repeatedly sweetened terms, arguing it wouldn't pass muster with regulators. But most recently Spirit said it is negotiating with both airlines, raising doubts about the fate of the tie-up with Frontier.
Frontier didn't immediately comment Wednesday.
Either combination of airlines would create the fifth-largest U.S. carrier.