Spirit shareholder Discovery Capital urges board to abandon Frontier deal

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FILE PHOTO: A logo of low cost carrier Spirit Airlines is pictured on an Airbus plane in Colomiers near Toulouse

(Reuters) – Spirit Airlines Inc shareholder Discovery Capital Management LLC on Tuesday urged the low-cost carrier to abandon its merger with Frontier Group Holdings Inc in favor of a bid from JetBlue Airways Corp.

Discovery became the second major Spirit shareholder to publicly back a merger with JetBlue, which is vying with Frontier to expand in the United States and create the country’s fifth-largest airline. Discovery owns 1.4% of Spirit.

Last month, Spirit shareholder TIG Advisors LLC also informed the carrier’s board of directors that it intends to vote against Frontier’s bid with the low-cost carrier.

The Spirit shareholder vote, which has been delayed twice before, was pushed back for a third time to enable the airline to have more conversations with JetBlue and Frontier to finalize a deal.

However, Frontier on Monday declined to further raise its bid for Spirit, potentially drawing the curtains on its months-long bidding war with JetBlue.

Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) last month said JetBlue’s latest offer to buy Spirit was “more favorable” for the ultra-low-cost airline’s shareholders, but maintained its support for the Frontier deal.

“We echo the opinion of ISS that the JetBlue proposal is more favorable, and we implore SAVE management to abandon the Frontier Merger without delay,” Discovery said in a statement.

(Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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