Spirit Airlines Inc SAVE is grappling with financial uncertainties after a federal judge rejected its $3.8 billion deal with JetBlue Airways Corporation JBLU.
The decision, based on antitrust concerns, has forced Spirit to reassess its options in the wake of near-term debt maturities, with approximately $1.1 billion due in September 2025.
As the low-cost carrier contemplates its next move, the risks associated with refinancing the impending debt are mounting, the Wall Street Journal noted, citing a Fitch Ratings report.
The setback follows U.S. District Judge William Young’s ruling favoring the Justice Department’s argument that the merger would diminish competition and negatively impact travelers relying on Spirit’s affordable fares.
Despite the disappointment, a Spirit representative expressed confidence in the company’s strengths and strategy, emphasizing the ongoing efforts to fortify its balance sheet and operations.
The airline recently completed transactions, selling and leasing over two dozen planes to alleviate debt and bolster cash reserves.
However, ongoing net losses and market share erosion have raised concerns among analysts.
While the government aimed to preserve Spirit as a stand-alone discounter, some analysts believe the blocked JetBlue merger could pose significant challenges.
Spirit’s stock and bonds have experienced a substantial decline since the JetBlue news, with shares down over 60%.
The airline faces additional challenges, including rising labor costs, intensified competition, and grounded planes due to engine recalls. With an uncertain future, Spirit is compelled to make strategic decisions to maintain competitiveness in the evolving aviation landscape.
Price Action: SAVE shares are down 27.80% at $4.45, and JBLU stock is up 3.10% at $4.83 on the last check Thursday.
Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of AI tools and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.
Photos: Courtesy JeftBlue, Spirit Airlines