Intrawest Buys Steamboat for $265 Million
SAM Magazine-Steamboat Springs, Colo., Dec. 19, 2006-Backed by its new owner, Fortress Investment Group, Intrawest is purchasing the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation from American Skiing Company (ASC) for $265 million. The eighth most-visited resort in the U.S. in 2006, Steamboat will become the eleventh member of the Intrawest empire if the deal closes, as expected, by the end of the 2006-07 season. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including antitrust approval and consent of the United States Forest Service.
Included in the sale are the resort and all resort-owned operations, including all of Steamboat's resort-owned real estate assets (developed and developable), the commercial core of the Steamboat Grand Hotel & Condominiums and the company's interest in the Walton Pond Apartments complex.
The purchase may signal the start of a new buying spree for Intrawest. "The acquisition of Steamboat represents another milestone in our long-term strategy to develop, market, operate and provide our customers with access to the world's premier network of experiential destination resorts," said Alex Wasilov, president and chief operating officer at Intrawest. "This acquisition marks the resurgence in our strategy to grow through acquisitions."
"Steamboat is a phenomenal resort, and this is a very exciting transaction for everyone involved," said Hugh Smythe, president of Intrawest Mountain Resorts. "Steamboat's success has been built on a powerful combination of a solid and long-tenured management team led by [president and CEO] Chris Diamond, a dedicated employee base, a supportive community and access to some of the region's most legendary terrain."
"We look forward to working with the entire Steamboat team and the local community to connect with the resort's unique culture and traditions," said David Barry, chief operating officer of Intrawest U.S. Mountain Resorts. "With the combination of the heritage of Steamboat and Intrawest's proven ability for operating and developing four-season resorts, we will be able to provide our guests from Colorado, and around the world, with access to three of the West's premier mountain resort destinations-Copper Mountain, Winter Park and now Steamboat."
The sale follows the review of strategic options for the resort that ASC announced in July. It also vastly improves on the $91 million it nearly sold the resort for in 2001, and allows ASC to improve its balance sheet. "The proceeds of this transaction will reduce outstanding debt and allow us to focus on opportunities in our portfolio of resorts and their related real estate," said ASC president and CEO B.J. Fair. ASC plans to pay off all existing senior debt and outstanding revolving balances under ASC's senior credit facility and certain other indebtedness.
"We look forward to working with the entire Intrawest team to ensure a smooth transition and a continued outstanding resort experience for our guests," added Fair.