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SAM Magazine—Charleston, W. Va., May 30, 2012—Jim Justice, owner of The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, has agreed to purchase Wintergreen Resort. The Wintergreen Partners' board of directors approved the merger agreement last Friday. If, as expected, the Class A Equity members of Wintergreen also approve the deal at a meeting June 24, the purchase will close by June 30.

Justice said the details of the deal are "very complicated," but that the final purchase price will be between $12.5 million and $16.5 million.

“We intend to take this property to the next level and see tremendous opportunities as we work with the Wintergreen management and staff in developing new membership 
programs and vacation packages,” he added.

Wintergreen was facing financial challenges. In February, it had consolidated staff and made operational cuts to deal with a shortfall of $4 million to $4.5 million due to the warm winter. The resort had also defaulted on its $3 million line of credit.

In a prepared statement, L. Allen Bennett Jr., chairman of Wintergreen Partners, said, “We are gratified to have found an excellent business partner who has provided Wintergreen with the opportunity to grow, while at the same time preserving the family-oriented nature of our community.”

Justice said he hopes to be able to create a "new marriage" between Wintergreen Resort and The Greenbrier, which is about a two hours' drive west. Justice bought The Greenbrier three years ago when it was in bankruptcy. He also owns The Resort at Glade Springs.

The James Justice family has been active in Virginia since 1977, where it has extensive agricultural interests, and manages coal mining operations across the Southeast.