Spirit Airlines postpones vote on Frontier deal

STORY: Spirit Airlines on Wednesday said it was postponing a shareholder vote set for Friday on its sale to Frontier Group just two days after JetBlue Airways sweetened its offer to buy the low-cost carrier.

The special shareholder meeting is now scheduled for June 30. In a statement, Spirit said it was postponing it "to allow the Spirit Board of Directors to continue discussions with Spirit stockholders, Frontier and JetBlue Airways."

Spirit assessed it did not have enough shareholder support for the deal with Frontier, which enhanced its offer last week by adding a $250 million regulatory break-up fee, according to people familiar with the matter.

But Spirit reiterated that it had not changed its recommendation to shareholders to back the deal from Frontier.

While JetBlue's $3.4 billion all-cash offer is higher than Frontier's, Spirit has said it does not believe government regulators will approve a tie-up given JetBlue's partnership with American Airlines.

On Monday, JetBlue improved its offer to include an increased $350 million break-up fee which would be payable to Spirit if antitrust reasons prevented the deal from going through.

Sources told Reuters that Spirit will now seek to get better offers both from Frontier and JetBlue.

Shares of all three airlines were trading lower Wednesday morning, with JetBlue seeing the steepest decline.

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