The owner of one of the largest ski centers in Canada, Whistler Blackcomb Holdings, will now be owned by American Vail Resorts as part of a friendly transaction valued at approximately $ 1.4 billion.
Whistler Blackcomb shareholders are being offered $ 676 million in cash and approximately $ 715 million in shares of Vail.
According to President and CEO of the popular resort in British Columbia, David Brownlie, Whistler agreement will provide financial support and market access which the resort needs to become one of the best ski destinations world.
“We believe that working with Vail will accelerate our business plan and we look forward to go ahead [with the agreement],” said Mr. Brownlie.
Vail Resorts, based in Colorado, operates nine mountain resorts and ski areas both in the US and Australia. Whistler Blackcomb, the largest ski center and the most visited in North America, would become its first assets in Canada.
Whistler Blackcomb unveiled earlier this year, an ambitious expansion project of $ 345 million, dubbed “Renaissance.” This should allow to build less vulnerable to weather systems, improve infrastructure on the mountain and increase housing supply.
— Whistler Blackcomb (@WhistlerBlckcmb) August 8, 2016
The CEO of Vail Resorts, Rob Katz, said to have been committed to the expansion of the ski center, located about 125km north of Vancouver. Furthermore, he assured that the transaction had nothing to do with the weak Canadian dollar.
“In the ski industry, all that matters is the long term, and we know very well. We plan things for the next 10 or 20 years, and currencies move back and forth, “said Mr. Katz.
Financial support from Vail and its wide network of consumers play a major role in increasing Whistler Blackcomb activities said Rob Katz. “We feel that long Whistler Blackcomb is really best positioned North American centers to enjoy of the growth that we expect [Chinese tourism], particularly in the context where China will begin to prepare for the 2022 winter Olympics in Beijing, “he added.
The deal is expected to close this fall.