Vail Resorts to Buy Whistler Blackcomb
(2016-08-08 10:27:48) Dawei Vail Resorts Inc. said Monday it agreed to acquire Canadian ski-resort operator Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. for roughly C$1.4 billion ($1.06 billion), further diversifying its resort locations as it seeks to make its season pass programs more expansive.
Vail Resorts stock, up 40% in the past 12 months, rose 6.3% to $153.06 in morning trading in New York.
The deal is valued at C$36 a share, the company said, a 43% premium to Whistler’s closing price on Friday. Shareholders of Whistler Blackcomb would receive $C17.50 a share in cash and 0.0975 shares of Vail Resorts common stock.
Dave Brownlie, Whistler Blackcomb’s chief executive, said the deal comes as its board has been “monitoring the unique challenges facing the broader ski industry due to the unpredictability of year-to-year regional weather patterns.” He said the tie-up with Vail would help secure the long-term future of its resorts.
Whistler Blackcomb will nominate one member of its board to join Vail’s board, and Mr. Brownlie will continue leading Whistler Blackcomb as the resort’s chief operating officer. He will also join the senior leadership team of Vail Resorts’ mountain division.
Broomfield, Colo.-based Vail has a strategy of purchasing and improving ski areas near urban centers as way of increasing visitors. In January, Vail acquired the Wilmot Mountain ski resort in Wisconsin, roughly 65 miles north of Chicago, which it plans to include in its season pass program, which potentially could boost visits by vacationers from the region at its other resorts. Vail said it plans to integrate Whistler Blackcomb into its season pass products for the 2017-18 winter season.
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