LDS Businessman's Airline, JetBlue, Will Go Public
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- JetBlue, the New York-based airline started in
1999 by LDS Church member David Neeleman, will become a public
company later this year with an initial public offering expected to
raise $125 million. The company, known for its low prices and
high-end amenities, such as free, live television at every seat, has
built an impressive track record, expanding in two years to 100
flights a day serving 18 U.S. cities. And analysts already believe
the public will jump at the chance to invest in the firm.
The company filed its intentions with the US Securities and Exchange
Commission last week, but the filing didn't indicate how many shares
the company planned to offer or what price per share it would set.
The offering is being managed by Morgan Stanley.
The company is the brainchild of Neeleman, a Salt Lake City native
and veteran of Morris Air who is sometimes credited with introducing
the electronic ticket. When Morris Air was sold to Southwest Airlines
in 1993, Neeleman soon left the company, signing a five-year
non-compete agreement that led him to go to Canada and help start
WestJet, a lowcost airline that has flourished.
With this track record, Neeleman returned to the U.S. after the
non-compete agreement expired and "raised $130 million in two weeks,"
he said last year, to start JetBlue. In less than a year it was
showing a profit, and has expanded ever since. For 2001, as airlines
waded through a post September 11th slump, JetBlue posted a profit of
$38.5 million, up from a $21.3 million loss the previous year.
In the wake of the announcement, Forbes.com's Lisa DiCarlo told her
readers that JetBlue was a golden opportunity, saying "The bottom
line is really very simple. Neeleman saw a gaping hole and flew a
plane through it. Get on this baby, because this is as close to a
sure thing as it gets."
JetBlue IPO Will Fly Right For Investors
Forbes.com 12Feb02 B4
By Lisa DiCarlo: Forbes.com
JetBlue Announces Filing of Registration Statement for Initial Public Offering of Its Common Stock
Business Wire 12Feb02 B4
New York-Based JetBlue Airways Files for Initial Public Offering
New York NY Daily News 13Feb02 B4
By Nancy Dillon: Daily News