Talisker Prevails in Battle for Park City Resort with $123M Purchase

After a year of competing bids and lawsuits, The Canyons resort in Park City, Utah, has finally gotten a new owner. Talisker Corp. forked over $123 million to American Skiing Co. for the 3,700-acre property, beating out competitor Vail Resorts after having entered into a contract in July 2007 to make the acquisition for $100 million in cash. It has been a long, convoluted 12 months for the parties involved in The Canyons sale. Last year, less than two weeks after Talisker announced its agreement with ASC to buy ASC Utah Inc.–the subsidiary that owned The Canyons–Vail Resorts cried fowl, submitting a letter to ASC in which it upped the ante to $110 million. In the letter, Vail Resorts noted that a period of exclusivity had been established with its potential acquisition partner Peninsula Advisors, but that following subsequent issues with Peninsula, Vail Resorts had been in the midst of finalizing its own deal with ASC, despite Peninsula’s threat to sue ASC if the company sold the property to Vail Resorts. In addition to topping Talisker’s bid by $10 million, Vail Resorts’ CEO noted in the correspondence that the company had initiated legal action against both Talisker and Peninsula regarding the purchase of The Canyons. And American Skiing–which was planning its exit from the ski resort business with the disposition of the Park City property, its last asset–had other problems. Wolf Mountain Resorts, owner of the land The Canyons occupied, was in the midst of litigation with ASC regarding land lease issues. In December 2007, a court ruled that Wolf Mountain did not have the right to obstruct ASC’s sale of The Canyons to Talisker. With all pertinent lawsuits in the past, Talisker is now the resort’s official owner and major changes are afoot. DuVal Development Partners I L.L.C. is developing the upper-upscale Dakota Mountain Lodge, which will be a Waldorf=Astoria Collection property and will sit at the base of the resort. Dakota will encompass 170 million condominium hotel residences–for a total of 334 guestrooms–in two structures. Headquartered in Park City, Talisker is a private real estate development and investment concern focusing resort, residential, retail and commercial properties. Also based in Park City, American Skiing Co. had been an operator of alpine ski, snowboard and golf resorts.