By Andrew McKeever
Intrawest Resorts Holdings, Inc., the corporate parent of Stratton Mountain Resorts and ski area, has been acquired by a newly formed business entity that consists of the Colorado-based Aspen Skiing Co., and KSL Capital Partners, a private equity firm.
The deal was announced Monday, April 10, but won’t become final until the third quarter in 2017 and is subject to certain closing conditions and regulatory approvals, according to a statement released Monday.
The transaction follows one struck two months ago between Vail, another large western based ski resort, and Stowe Mountain, in which Vail acquired the Vermont ski area.
Aspen and KSL acquired Intrawest for $1.5 billion. Its other ski assets include Mont Tremblant in Quebec and Steamboat in Colorado.
By contrast, Vail, Aspen’s rival, only acquired the ski operations at Stowe, for $50 million. Earlier in the ski season, Aspen had entered into a partnership with Sugarbush Resort, where the two resorts will share ski passes.
“This transaction creates significant opportunity for Intrawest and delivers tremendous value to our current shareholders,” said Thomas Marano, Intrawest’s chief executive officer. “The cash consideration of $23.75 per share represents a 40 percent premium over $16.97 per share, Intrawest’s closing stock price on January 12, 2017, the trading day prior to Reuters’ report speculating that the Company was exploring a potential sale. We are excited to work with Aspen and KSL. Our new partners bring additional financial resources and a shared passion for the mountains and our mountain communities. Both Aspen and KSL are committed to helping Intrawest accelerate our plans to bring more value to our guests, more opportunities for our employees and more investment into our local communities.”
Vermont Public Radio quoted Jeff Hanle, Aspen’s director of public relations, as indicating that the change in ownership will not bring any noticeable changes and that the consolidation was not the forerunner to wideranging layoffs of Stratton’s employees.
“…our plan is to keep the people in place that are making these places so great right now, and that have the relationships with the local community and local skiers and let them continue to thrive, and offer our support where we can.” Hanle said, in VPR’s report.
The acquisition of Intrawest by Aspen was good news, said Paul W. Carroccio, the CEO and owner of TPW Real Estate. The company was founded in Stratton and sells and leased real estate throughout the Northshire region.
Aspen is an internationally recognized brand in the skiing industry and he anticipated that the new ownership will be a boost not only for the skiing side of things, but in the real estate side as well, he said.
“It’s good to hear one of the top brands in American skiing is buying it,” he said, referring to Stratton Mountain.”To have them bring their operation and expertise to Stratton is without question, a benefit to our community.”