JetBlue sweetens offer in Spirit buyout race

STORY: JetBlue Airways improved its offer on Monday (June 6) for smaller rival Spirit Airlines, in an attempt to outstrip competition in the race to buy the ultra low-cost carrier.

Shares of Spirit jumped 6.2% to $22 in premarket trading.

JetBlue is locked in a takeover battle for Spirit with Frontier Group Holdings, and has argued a deal will help it better compete with the "Big Four" U.S. airlines that control nearly 80% of the passenger market.

Under JetBlue's new terms, Spirit shareholders will get $31.50 per share in cash, including $1.50 from a raised reverse break-up fee. Its earlier offer was $30 per share.

The move comes days before shareholders vote on a competing offer from Frontier.

Spirit rejected JetBlue's offer last month, for being unlikely to win approval from government regulators.

But on Monday, JetBlue raised its reverse break-up fee by $150 million to $350 million, which is payable to Spirit shareholders if the deal falls through for antitrust reasons.

Frontier had agreed to pay $250 million in break-up fees.

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