Ski industry sees another big consolidation with Aspen deal

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Intrawest Resorts Holdings, Inc. said Monday it has agreed to be taken over by Aspen Skiing Company, L.L.C. and KSL Capital Partners, a private equity firm, for $23.75 USA in cash.

Steamboat Resort and Winter Park will have a new owner and operator next season.

The deal is expected to conclude by the end of the third quarter of this year. Under the terms of the transaction, Intrawest Resorts shareholders will receive $23.75 for each share of Intrawest Resorts stock they own. The company's stock has nearly tripled in last 12 months, in part due to an uptick in annual snowfall that translated to more visits to Intrawest's mountain resorts.

As the Denver Post puts it, "Suddenly Colorado is ground-zero for what will become the most hawkish rivalry in the US ski resort industry, with Aspen Skiing/KSL vying against the world's largest resort operator Vail Resorts in an escalating battle of consolidation".

While some Canadian ski areas have struggled to adapt to warmer winters and changing demographics, many others have thrived, said Christopher Nicolson, the president and chief executive of the Canada West Ski Areas Association.

Each Intrawest resort will honor 2017-18 lift tickets that are now on sale, the press release said, including the Rocky Mountain Super Pass+ and the M.A.X.

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The world's leading ski resort companies can't afford to ignore climate change, however. Goldman, Sachs & Co.is serving as financial advisor to Aspen and KSL and is acting as financial advisor to the new entity.

Intrawest is a North American mountain resort and adventure company, delivering distinctive vacation and travel experiences to its customers for over three decades.

Intrawest, which in the late 1990s saw its total revenues lean away from skiing and toward slopeside condo sales, triggering fears that skiing would become an amenity for real estate sales, has about 1,100 acres of land available for real estate development at the six resorts it owns or controls.

Aspen/Snowmass posted information on this merger calling it, "Better Together".

Aspen owns Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk.

Private equity firm Fortress Investment Group acquired Intrawest in October 2006.

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