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Spirit Airlines Stock Soars As JetBlue Launches Hostile Takeover Bid at $30 Per Share

“JetBlue offers more value -- a significant premium in cash -- more certainty, and more benefits for all stakeholders," the company said of its $3.2 billion takeover bid.

Updated at 1:33 pm EST

Spirit Airlines  (SAVE) - Get Spirit Airlines Inc. Report soared higher Monday after JetBlue Airways  (JBLU) - Get JetBlue Airways Corporation Report launched a hostile takeover for the low-cost airline valued at around $3.2 billion.

Spirit, which had been planning a $6.6 billion tie-up with low-cost rival Frontier Group Holdings  (ULCC) - Get Frontier Group Holdings Inc. Report and has twice rejected JetBlue's approach, citing the difficulty of receiving regulatory approval, has as least conceded that JetBlue's offer of $33 per share could be a "superior proposal" that shareholders may need to consider.

JetBlue is now offering $30 a share, in cash , for the Miramar, Florida-based carrier and has urged shareholders to reject what its calls an "inferior, high risk, and low value Spirit/Frontier transaction" at an extraordinary general meeting of Spirit shareholders on June 10. 

The carrier said it could go to $33 a share -- its previous offer -- if Spirit were to agree to a "consensual transaction", JetBlue said.

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“JetBlue offers more value -- a significant premium in cash -- more certainty, and more benefits for all stakeholders," the company said. "Frontier offers less value, more risk, no divestiture commitments, and no reverse break-up fee, despite more overlap on non-stop routes and their own regulatory challenges."

Spirit Airlines shares were marked 11.9% higher in early afternoon trading Monday to change hands at $19.00 each. Frontier jumped 5.85% to $9.23 each while JetBlue fell 4.7% to $9.58 each. 

Both Spirit's tie-up with Frontier, first unveiled in early February, as well as any potential takeover by JetBlue would likely face significant regulatory hurdles and a close look from the Department of Justice on the grounds that it could raise fares and limit customer choice.

In late March, a group of lawmakers lead by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders telling regulators the deal would "consolidate market power for the airlines and reduce choices for travelers."

A merger with Frontier, or a takeover by JetBlue, would also come at a time when major American carriers are noting improved bookings and travel demand that has, for the moment at least, offset concerns linked to surging fuel prices.