JetBlue informs Spirit "certain conditions" of $3.8 billion buyout deal may not be met by deadline

NEW YORK — JetBlue Airways warned Friday that it may end its bid to acquire low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines as soon as this weekend, sending Spirit shares tumbling.

A federal judge this month sided with the Justice Department and blocked JetBlue’s proposed $3.8 billion purchase of Spirit. The Justice Department sued to block the merger, saying it would drive up fares by eliminating Spirit, the nation’s biggest low-cost airline.

After the decision from the federal judge last week, both airlines filed their intention to appeal with a higher court.

JetBlue said Friday that it has told Spirit that certain conditions of their deal might not be met by the deadline set in the airlines’ 2022 agreement, which could lead JetBlue to terminate the deal as early as Sunday.

JetBlue, based in New York, had argued that it needs the deal to grow in one move and better compete against bigger rivals that dominate the U.S. air-travel market.

Shares of Spirit Airlines Inc. slumped 16% immediately after JetBlue disclosed its view of the potential merger in a regulatory filing.

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