Southwest Airlines said it submitted a binding cash offer of more than $170 million to acquire Frontier Airlines, which will be sold at auction as part of Frontier's bankruptcy case. The bid was submitted to Frontier in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
Over the next week, Southwest said it will discuss its offer with the various interested parties. The auction is expected to commence on Thursday, August 13. Once the auction is concluded, the bankruptcy court must still approve the selection of the winning bidder. From there, the bid will undergo review by the Department of Justice, which is normal and customary when one airline is purchasing another.
"We believe our bid ultimately should be seen as the strongest offer by all interested parties, including Frontier, its creditors, employees, and customers," said Gary Kelly, Southwest's chairman of the board, president, and CEO. "Southwest is a financially stable company, and through this acquisition, will continue to provide Denver its historically low fares into the future. Frontier is up for sale. The bankruptcy process will lead to change at Frontier in any scenario.
“Given Southwest's history and track record of running a successful airline, we believe that our bid is the best option on the table for Frontier, Southwest, and the traveling public," Kelly continued. "A successful acquisition of Frontier Airlines by Southwest will expand a network of legendary low fares to additional cities, add jobs into Southwest through growth, and strengthen low-fare competitive pressure in Denver and other cities."
Frontier filed for bankruptcy court protection in April of 2008. Southwest submitted its initial indication of interest to acquire Frontier Airlines on July 30, 2009, which gave the carrier an opportunity to engage with Frontier in the due diligence required to determine the scope of a binding proposal.