JetBlue-Spirit Merger Is “Growing Probability” Says Financial Analyst

JPMorgan Chase, one of the nation’s leading financial services firms, expressed optimism this week that Spirit Airlines will choose JetBlue Airways as its merger partner.

In a note to clients, analysts at the venerable company believe that JetBlue’s attempt to acquire Spirit is moving forward, according to Reuters News Service.


The merger is a “growing probability,” JPMorgan wrote.

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Moreover, JPMorgan said JetBlue – which has a reciprocal deal with American Airlines called the Northeast Alliance and has steadfastly refused Spirit’s request to relinquish that – could be swayed to drop the Alliance

“Mergers are transformational by design,” the note said.

Spirit is concerned that a Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit against JetBlue and American’s Northeast Alliance could be detrimental to regulatory approval of any JetBlue-Spirit merger.

Originally, Spirit announced a merger with Frontier Airlines in February until JetBlue jumped in with a higher counteroffer in April. When Spirit rebuffed that inquiry, and a subsequent offer that sweetened the deal, JetBlue last month initiated a hostile takeover bid.

Spirit shareholders were scheduled to vote on which offer to accept during a meeting on Friday, June 10. But in a sign that it is still considering the JetBlue proposal, the vote was postponed and will now take place on June 30.

On Friday, in an interview with Reuters, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes also expressed optimism that his airline will be able to pull off the acquisition of Spirit.

“We’re pleased that there now seems to be a genuine desire from the Spirit board to engage with us,” Hayes told Reuters late Friday in an interview. “We’re going to continue to engage with the Spirit board over the next few weeks.”

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