Vail Resorts Expands Overseas

Vail Resorts is expanding its portfolio with the purchase of the largest and most popular mountain resort in Australia.
Perisher Front Valley

U.S. ski resort operator Vail Resorts has agreed to expand its portfolio with the purchase of the Perisher Ski Resort in New South Wales, Australia for U.S. $136 million (AU $176.6 million). The transaction, expected to close in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, marks the company’s first international expansion.

Located in the picturesque Kosciuszko National Park, Perisher is the largest and most popular mountain resort in Australia, with access to the country’s most renowned cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane.

The property includes areas known as Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega, a ski school, lodging, food and beverage facilities, as well as retail/rental and transportation operations. Overall, Perisher offers 3,000 acres of skiable terrain, 47 lifts, seven mountain peaks, five terrain parks, more than 100 groomed trails, night skiing and more than 100 kilometers of cross-country skiing trails, which also make it the largest ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere.

“This acquisition is part of Vail Resorts’ continued strategy to drive season pass sales and build loyalty with guests from around the world. Australia is one of the most important international markets for ski resorts across the Northern Hemisphere, generating an estimated more than 1 million skier visits annually to resorts in North America, Japan and Europe,” Rob Katz, chairman & CEO of Vail Resorts, said in a news release. “We see this as a groundbreaking acquisition that will dramatically enhance the connection between our company and Australian skiers and riders. We also see the acquisition as a natural fit, as Perisher is the Australian leader in innovation and guest experience – both hallmarks of Vail Resorts.”

Once the acquisition is finalized, Perisher’s reverse seasonality will enable the company to extend the ski season all year long to its customers.

Vail Resorts is also buying the entities that operate the resort from Murray Publishers Pty. Ltd. and Transfield Corporate Pty. Ltd. in Sydney. Perisher currently holds a long-term lease and license agreement with the New South Wales Government under the National Parks and Wildlife Act, which is set to expire in 2048 and has a 20-year renewal option.