Southwest outbids tiny rival Republic to buy bankrupt Frontier Airlines

Southwest Airlines (LUV) has confirmed that it will bid for the assets of bankrupt carrier Frontier Airlines, scheduled to be sold in a court auction next month. Southwest's bid is said to be worth at least $113.6 million, placing it ahead of a $108.75 million bid placed by regional operator Republic Airways (RJET). Frontier is the second-largest carrier at Denver International Airport, and has 51 aircraft, many of them newer Airbus models.

Announcing Republic's original bid for Frontier, Republic CEO Bryan Bedford said, "Frontier has made tremendous strides during its restructuring process, recently posting its sixth straight monthly operating profit despite challenging economic conditions." The dualing offers create a potential bidding war, though tiny Republic, with a market cap of $175 million, seems ill-equipped to compete with Southwest's financial resources (a $5.8 billion market cap).