Vail Resorts to buy Whistler Blackcomb in $1.1 billion deal

Carla Harmon
August 11, 2016

A previous version had an incorrect spelling for Vail Resorts and incorrectly hyphenated Whistler Blackcomb Holdings. Found north of Vancouver, British Columbia, the combined ski areas of Whistler and Blackcomb cover 8,171 skiable acres with a vertical drop of more than 5,000 feet.

When it opened in 1966, the Whistler resort featured a four-person gondola, a double chairlift and a day lodge.

Whistler is one of the largest and most visited ski resorts in North America.

The Whistler purchase is Vail's second expansion deal of 2016.

"Whistler Blackcomb is one of the most iconic mountain resorts in the world with an incredible history, passionate employees and a strong community", Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said in a statement. The press release states that Whistler Blackcomb will honor its existing season pass products and Vail Resorts will integrate Whistler into the Epic Pass for the 2017-2018 winter season.

Vail's offer was unsolicited, Whistler Blackcomb Chief Executive Dave Brownlie said on a conference call, adding that there were no other bidders.

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 of California and Nevada; Perisher in Australia; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in MI.

Greenhill & Co served as financial adviser to Whistler Blackcomb while Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP were its legal advisers.

February 2010 - Whistler Blackcomb is one of the venues for Vancouver's 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The transaction has already been approved by the Whistler Blackcomb board of directors and the Vail Resorts board of directors. Whistler shareholders who are Canadian residents may choose, for tax purposes, to receive for each Whistler share an equivalent exchange ratio of shares in a Canadian subsidiary of Vail Resorts. Whistler Blackcomb, with its unprecedented acreage of high alpine terrain and Glacier bowls, is well positioned, but by no means immune to these challenges. "Quite frankly, Whisler Blackcomb has seen various ownership models over the years, and its always continued to be a leader in mountain resort innovation".

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