Vail Resorts to buy Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia

Aug 09, 2016, 00:45

Vail Resorts operates nine mountain resorts and two ski areas in the US and Australia, meaning the Whistler Blackcomb sale would be its first foray into Canada.

Vail Resorts will buy Whistler-Blackcomb Holdings, the Canadian ski resort company that operated the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics, for $1.06 billion.

The deal is expected to close this fall.

Dave Brownlie, CEO of Whistler-Blackcomb Holdings, said the takeover would help his company fulfill its plans to grow and give it greater marketing exposure.

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Whistler Blackcomb has been in operation since 1966 - when it started with just a four-person gondola - and has grown to be an outstanding North American ski retreat for people from around the world.

Whistler Blackcomb will be integrated into the Epic Pass for the 2017-18 season, Vail Resorts said.

Vail Resorts (NYSE:MTN) announces it acquired Whistler Blackcomb Holdings for C$17.50 per share in cash and 0.0975 shares of Vail Resorts common stock, for a total consideration of C$36.00 per share.

Whistler Blackcomb (TSX:WB) shareholders are being offered C$676 million of cash and Vail stock (NYSE:MTN) worth about C$715 million, making the deal worth almost C$1.4 billion when it was announced.

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Whistler Blackcomb's year-round mountain resort in British Columbia is open for skiing from November through May of each year. Brownlie will become chief operating officer and a senior member of the leadership team of Vail Resorts mountain division, the statement said. In New York, Vail Resorts stock also was trading at the highest rate in at least a decade, reaching about $154 midday.

Vail Resorts vowed to keep most Whistler employees, with the exception of some areas of duplication in corporate functions.

In addition to Vail and Park City, Vail Resorts operates Colorado's Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Keystone ski resorts.

"On the other hand, Whistler joining Vail, and the very diverse, expansive portfolio that Vail owns, makes the Canadian ski resort less vulnerable to pressures like climate change and a shrinking skiing population", Brown continued.

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