Spirit Airlines shareholders voted Wednesday to accept a $3.8 billion buyout from JetBlue Airways, but the deal could still face a challenge from federal antitrust regulators.
JetBlue emerged as the winner in a bidding war with Frontier to acquire Spirit, the nation’s biggest budget airline.
Spirit announced the outcome after a brief meeting, which was held online. Spirit said only that the JetBlue deal was supported by a majority of shares voted; it promised an exact count within four business days.
Wall Street widely expected shareholders to approve the sale after they forced Spirit to drop a proposed merger with Frontier Airlines in favor of JetBlue’s richer, all-cash offer.
“This is an important step forward on our path to closing a combination that will create the most compelling national low-fare challenger to the dominant U.S. carriers,” Spirit CEO Ted Christie said after the vote.
JetBlue issued a statement calling the vote “a major milestone in our plan to join with Spirit to create a high-quality, low-fare national challenger to the Big Four airlines” — a reference to American, United, Delta and Southwest. JetBlue vowed to work through the regulatory process.