(Reuters) – Shareholders of U.S. carrier Spirit Airlines Inc on Wednesday voted in favor of JetBlue Airways Corp’s $3.8 billion takeover offer, moving the companies closer to creating the nation’s fifth-largest carrier.
A majority of Spirit’s shareholders supported the deal, though full results of the vote will be revealed later in a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the carrier said in a special shareholder meeting.
Spirit and JetBlue expect to conclude the regulatory process and close the deal no later than the first half of 2024.
JetBlue and Spirit face an uphill struggle getting U.S. regulators to approve their combination, after Spirit talked up the chances of the deal being blocked when it was resisting the bid earlier.
Frontier Group Holdings Inc and JetBlue were locked in an intense bidding war for Spirit, to create a combined airline that could compete with legacy U.S. carriers at a time when the industry faces worker shortages and high jet fuel costs.
However, New York-based Spirit in July sided with JetBlue’s revised offer, a day after terminating its $2.7 billion merger deal with Frontier.
Spirit’s shares were up 0.7% in morning trade on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)