JetBlue Founder Says He’s Not Trying To Buy His Old Airline Back

There are reports coming out of Brazil that JetBlue founder David Neeleman is putting together an investment fund with the purpose of acquiring the company he left five years ago and merging it with his Brazilian startup carrier, but Neeleman says that’s all a lot of hot air.

Neeleman, a former Southwest exec, started JetBlue under the name NewAir in 1998. Following a rough patch in mid-2000s, he stepped down as CEO in 2007 but remained as Chairman of the Board. In 2008, he left that job to launch Brazil-based Azul Linhas Aereas.

This morning, the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reported that Neeleman was trying to raise $3.2 billion to acquire JetBlue and Portuguese carrier TAP Portugal. He had reportedly also spoken to the Brazilian government about investing $600 million.

But Neeleman says his “focus is 100% on taking Azul public” and that he’s never discussed talked with the Brazilian government about any plans to acquire JetBlue.

Jetblue’s Founder Says a Brazilian Buyout Isn’t On the Cards [WSJ.com]