JetBlue reaches deal to acquire Spirit Airlines

JetBlue Airways on Thursday agreed to buy Spirit Airlines for $3.8 billion shortly after Spirit scrapped its proposed merger with Frontier Airlines, CNBC and The Wall Street Journal.

Spirit on Wednesday called off the Frontier deal moments before it was set to announce the results of a shareholder vote on it. The discount carrier delayed the vote several times, hoping to get shareholders to support it over JetBlue’s more lucrative proposal. Based on Wednesday’s closing stock price, Frontier’s cash-and-stock deal was worth $2.8 billion.

JetBlue’s acquisition of Spirit would create the nation’s fifth largest airline, making it better able to compete with bigger rivals American, Delta, Southwest, and United. The deal could face challenges from antitrust regulators.