Vail to buy Canadian ski resort operator Whistler Blackcomb
By Arunima Banerjee and Amrutha Gayathri
(Reuters) - Vail Resorts Inc said it would buy Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc, operator of the ski resort that was a venue for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, for about C$1.39 billion ($1.06 billion) to expand its mountain resort chain into Canada.
The deal will help bring more stability to Vail's weather-dependent business and boost its summer revenue.
It will also help Whistler draw more tourists with Vail's season pass, which allows pass-holders ski at Vail's resorts in the United States and Australia.
"In summer, Whistler is absolutely a leader in North America and we feel that adding that to Vail Resorts certainly helps our summer revenue and profitability," Vail Chief Executive Rob Katz told Reuters.
Katz said the acquisition will augment Vail's season pass program, which has about 500,000 holders and has been growing by about 15 percent annually in the last seven to eight years.
The C$36 per share cash-and-stock offer represents a premium of about 43 percent to Whistler's Friday close.
Whistler's shares jumped 47.6 percent to an all-time high of C$37.10, while Vail's shares rose 9.7 percent to a record high of $157.95.
Broomfield, Colorado-based Vail will pay about C$676 million in cash. Continued...