JetBlue buys Spirit Airlines

JetBlue to acquire Spirit at $33.50 per share in cash or $7.6B enterprise value

JetBlue Airways (JBLU) and Spirit Airlines (SAVE) announced that their boards of directors have approved a definitive merger agreement under which JetBlue will acquire Spirit for $33.50 per share in cash, including a prepayment of $2.50 per share in cash payable upon Spirit stockholders’ approval of the transaction and a ticking fee of $0.10 per month starting in January 2023 through closing, for an aggregate fully diluted equity value of $3.8B and an adjusted enterprise value of $7.6B.

The transaction consideration of $33.50 per share implies an aggregate fully diluted equity value of approximately $3.8 billion and an adjusted enterprise value of $7.6 billion.

JetBlue expects to achieve $600M-700M in net annual synergies once integration is complete, driven in large part by expanded customer offerings resulting from the greater breadth and depth of the combined network.

The combined company is projected to have annual revenues of approximately $11.9 billion based on 2019 revenues. JetBlue expects the transaction to be significantly accretive to earnings per share in the first full year following closing.

JetBlue expects to maintain balance sheet flexibility with post-transaction leverage of 3.0-3.5x, well inside historical levels, and to continue its deleveraging trajectory as it captures synergies.”

“The completion of the acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals and approval of Spirit’s stockholders.

The companies expect to conclude the regulatory process and close the transaction no later than the first half of 2024.

The four largest carriers control more than 80% of the market. Creating a low-fare, customer-centric challenger with size and scale is the best opportunity to disrupt legacy carrier pricing in the current landscape.

Even as the fifth-largest carrier, JetBlue, with Spirit, would have only 9% market share, compared to 13% for the fourth-largest airline and 23% for the largest carrier.

After the combination and with its committed upfront divestitures, the largest seat share a combined JetBlue-Spirit will have in any of its largest metro areas is 40%, compared to the 57-91% share legacy carriers have in their largest metro areas.

The airlines will continue to operate independently until after the transaction closes and their respective loyalty programs remain unchanged and customer accounts will not be affected in any way.

Following completion of the acquisition, the combined airline will be based in New York and be led by Robin Hayes. As previously announced, Spirit has terminated its prior merger agreement with Frontier. JetBlue has terminated its previously announced all-cash tender offer to acquire Spirit common stock.”

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.

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