Spirit and Frontier End Merger Agreement


Spirit shareholders had been resistant to a Frontier deal amid a bidding war with JetBlue.


Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg News

Spirit Airlines Inc.

SAVE 3.93%


Frontier Airlines

ULCC 6.42%

terminated their merger agreement Wednesday, ending a monthslong battle over the discount carrier’s fate.

With Frontier out of the picture, Spirit could agree to an acquisition by

JetBlue Airways Corp.

JBLU 3.58%

, which it had previously rejected.

Spirit Chief Executive

Ted Christie

said Wednesday that Spirit’s board would continue discussions with JetBlue, adding that he was disappointed to have to terminate the merger with Frontier.

Spirit investors were widely expected to reject the Frontier merger, and the announcement that the deal had been called off came shortly before Spirit was due to release the results of a shareholder vote.

Spirit and Frontier announced their plans to merge in February in a cash-and-stock deal that was valued at about $2.9 billion at the time. Less than two months later, JetBlue lobbed a competing offer for Spirit—a move that JetBlue said it had been considering since before the pandemic but that took many in the industry by surprise.

JetBlue’s bid for Spirit is worth about $3.7 billion in cash, significantly more than the cash-and-stock deal with Frontier. The end of Spirit’s agreement with Frontier doesn’t necessarily mean it will strike a new deal with JetBlue, however. And if they do agree to a merger, it would need to be approved by regulators.

Write to Alison Sider at alison.sider@wsj.com

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