Vail Resorts to buy Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia
BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Vail Resorts is buying Whistler Blackcomb, the 8,000-acre ski resort in British Columbia, in a deal worth about $1.1 billion. The announcement was made Monday, Aug. 8.
The deal offers $17.50 Canadian per share in cash and 0.0975 shares of Vail Resorts common stock for a total value of $36 Canadian per share.
“With our combined experience and expertise, together we will build upon the guest experience at Whistler Blackcomb while preserving the unique brand and character of the resort as an iconic Canadian destination for guests around the world,” said Rob Katz, CEO of Broomfield-based Vail Resorts.
Whistler Blackcomb will be integrated into the Epic Pass for the 2017-18 season, Vail Resorts said. For the upcoming season, Whistler will honor its existing pass products.
The Canadian resort has been named the No. 1 ski resort in North America by SKI Magazine three out of the past four years. It hosted events during the Winter Olympics in 2010.
Vail Resorts already owns Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area; Perisher in Australia; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Afton Alps in Minnesota; and Mount Brighton in Michigan.
Whistler Blackcomb will continue to have mostly local leadership, with day-to-day mountain operations staying at the resort, Vail Resorts said. Whistler will add one member of its board to the Vail Resorts board of directors, and Dave Brownlie will continue as CEO and will become a member of the senior leadership team of Vail Resorts’ mountain division.
Brownlie said the Whistler leadership “has also been monitoring the unique challenges facing the broader ski industry due to the unpredictability of year-to-year regional weather patterns” and that joining Vail Resorts and its network of resorts will help secure Whistler’s long-term future.
Vail Resorts vowed to keep most Whistler employees, with the exception of some areas of duplication in corporate functions.
They also said they would invest substantially in Whistler Blackcomb’s mountain infrastructure and growth plans.
The transaction is expected to close in fall 2016.
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