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Vail to Buy Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort in $1.05 Billion Deal

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Vail Resorts buys Whistler Blackcomb

Shares of Vail Resorts rose more than 7 percent Monday after it agreed to buy Canadian resort operator Whistler Blackcomb for about $ 1.1 billion.

Under the new deal Vail Resorts will own 100 per cent of Whistler Blackcomb stock, though it has said Whistler will “maintain its unique brand and character with strong local Canadian leadership”. The resort is still waiting on final approvals from British Columbia before shovels can hit the ground, but Brownlie said Vail is fully supportive of the proposal, and the merger will have no effect on its timeframe or completion. The company owns nine world-class mountain resorts and two urban ski areas including Vail, Beaver Creek, Park City in Utah; Heavenly and Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe, California; Perisher in Australia and Afton Alps in Minnesota.

Vail Resorts tends to purchase and improve ski resorts in urban areas to draw more visitors, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“I can appreciate that there are many unknowns as we kick off this review process to welcome Whistler Blackcomb to the Vail Resorts family and we will continue to communicate about the process and updates in the months to come”, he said.

Looks like Whistler Blackcomb is the latest component of Vail Resorts’ “global footprint”.

Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass is a lift pass that gives access to all Vail Resorts-operated destinations, as well as to premier ski resorts around the world that it has partnered with.

Brownlie will stay on as the resort’s chief operating officer, and a member of their board will join Vail Resorts. Whistler Blackcomb employees will continue working with aboriginal groups, according to the statement.

Whistler Blackcomb reported 2.3 million in revenue from ticket sales, retail and rental, food and beverage and ski school operations in fiscal 2015, up from $ 254.5 million the previous year. That dream was eventually realized in with the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. The press release states that Whistler Blackcomb will honor its existing season pass products and Vail Resorts will integrate Whistler into the Epic Pass for the 2017-2018 winter season.

Located about 125 kilometres from Vancouver, Whistler-Blackcomb is one of Canada’s largest ski resorts. And in the future, if the Canadian dollar strengthens against its US counterpart, locals would be able to capitalize on their currency and visit Vail’s USA locations.

The new deal is expected to close in the fall.

Greenhill & Co is the financial adviser to Whistler Blackcomb.

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