Today, Vail Resorts, Inc. and Whistler Blackcomb Holdings, Inc. have announced that they have entered into a "strategic business combination", joining Whistler Blackcomb with Vail Resorts. This year, the company faced strong criticism from Park City locals in Utah for attempting to trademark the phrase "Park City", and eventually withdrew its trademark application.
The deal is expected to close in the fall. Whistler CEO Dave Brownlie will continue on as the resort's chief operating officer while also becoming a member of the senior leadership team of Vail's mountain division.
"We felt it was very good for our shareholders and for our company overall", Brownlie said on the hastily-arranged call with analysts Monday morning.
Brownlie earlier said that Whistler Blackcomb could expand its ski terrain by about 25 per cent from more than 3300 hectares now.
"We think that working with Vail will accelerate our business plan and we're excited to move forward with it".
Whistler's Renaissance is a $345 million investment to bring year-round recreation to the ski resort in the form of an indoor waterpark, another indoor "action-sports complex", an outdoor non-skiing "Adventure Park", new chairlifts, restaurants, and snowmaking, extended development phases for the base village at Blackcomb, a six-star luxury hotel, and more ski-in, ski-out condos. Whistler Blackcomb in Whistler, British Columbia, is a combination of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains that sit side-by-side.
Vail Resorts now operates nine mountain resorts and two ski areas in the USA and Australia, including Northstar-at-Tahoe and Park city Mountain Resort.
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Late in 2014, Vail Resorts purchased the Park City Mountain Resort in Utah for $182.5 million, and combined it with its neighboring property, The Canyons, to create the largest US ski resort, featuring 41 lifts and 7,300 acres of skiable terrain. Finally, TD Securities cut their price objective on shares of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings from C$33.00 to C$32.00 and set a "buy" rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, May 12th.
The transaction is valued at C$36 per share, representing a 43% premium to Whistler's Friday closing price.
Shares of Whistler Blackcomb rose above $27.36 ($36 Canadian) each in Toronto.
When it opened in 1966, the Whistler resort featured a four-person gondola, a double chairlift and a day lodge. It has since grown to become one of the premier ski destinations in North America.