Aspen Skiing, KSL Capital Nab Intrawest Resorts in $1.5B Deal

Scheduled to close during the third quarter, the deal includes resorts in the U.S. and Canada, an adventure travel business and more than 1,000 acres of land.
Stratton Mountain
Stratton Mountain

The shakeup on the slopes continues this week with the announcement that affiliates of Aspen Skiing Co. LLC and KSL Capital Partners will acquire Intrawest Resort Holdings Inc., a leading North American mountain resort and adventure company, in a deal valued at $1.5 billion.

Intrawest wholly owns or operates six four-season mountain resorts including Stratton Mountain in Vermont, Steamboat in Colorado and Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Canada, as well as an adventure travel business. Perhaps just as attractive as the ski resorts is the more than 1,100 acres of land available for real estate development that Intrawest also owns across the United States and Canada.

The definitive agreement calls for a newly formed entity controlled by affiliates of Aspen and KSL to acquire Intrawest, whose stockholders will receive $23.75 cash for each share of common stock owned. The deal represents a total valuation of approximately $1.5 billion, including debt. The Intrawest board of directors and a majority of stockholders approved the agreement. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the third quarter.

Intrawest CEO Thomas Marano said the amount to be paid to stockholders per share represents a 40 percent increase over the closing stock price on Jan. 12, when Reuters reported the company was exploring a potential sale.

“Our new partners bring additional financial resources and a shared passion for the mountains and our mountain communities. Both Aspen and KSL are committed to helping Intrawest accelerate our plans to bring more value to our guests, more opportunities for our employees and more investment into our local communities,” said Marano in a prepared statement.

Aspen owns and operates the four mountains of Aspen Snowmass: Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. It also owns and operates numerous retail and rental locations as well as hospitality properties in Ketchum, Idaho, such as The Little Nell, Limelight Aspen and Limelight Ketchum.

KSL, a private equity firm specializing in travel and leisure businesses, has raised approximately $7.4 billion in equity capital commitments since 2005. Its portfolio includes Squaw Valley/ Alpine Meadows, one of the top ski resorts in North America. KSL has owned Squaw Valley since 2010, when it bought the site in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which hosted the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, from Intrawest. Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows will become part of the new entity at closing but continue to operate under its current management.

“Intrawest is a collection of remarkable properties in excellent locations. Each has its own unique story and its own unique sense of place. We are committed to honoring the deep traditions of each resort, while working with Intrawest’s talented management team and employees to continue to serve both their guests and local communities,” KSL CEO Eric Resnick said in a prepared statement.

Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Moelis & Co. LLC and Houlihan Lokey are serving as financial advisors to Intrawest. Goldman, Sachs & Co. is serving as a financial advisor to Aspen, KSL and the new entity.

Hogan Lovells US LLP, Latham and Watkins LLP and Simpson Thacher Bartlett LLP are legal counsel to Aspen and KSL. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP are Intrawest’s legal counsel.

The Intrawest acquisition deal was announced just days after CNL Lifestyle Properties Inc. completed disposing of the last of its assets, including ski resorts such as Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado; Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont; Sugarloaf Mountain Resort in Maine; and Cypress Mountain in British Columbia, Canada.