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Exclusive: Intrawest nears sale to private equity-backed group - sources
April 10, 2017 / 1:35 AM / 8 months ago

Exclusive: Intrawest nears sale to private equity-backed group - sources

(Reuters) - Intrawest Resorts Holdings Inc SNOW.N, the owner of some of the most popular ski resorts in North America, will announce its sale on Monday to a ski resort operator backed by buyout firm KSL Capital Partners LLC, people familiar with the matter said.

The value of the deal could not be established, though it is expected to come at a premium to Intrawest’s $1 billion market capitalization. It underscores the financial appeal of some ski resorts despite concerns over the impact of climate change.

KSL is backing a ski resort operator whose identity could not immediately be learned. The sources asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. Intrawest and KSL did not respond to requests for comment.

For shareholders of Intrawest, including its largest investor, Fortress Investment Group LLC (FIG.N), the deal offers a chance to cash out at a high point in Intrawest’s stock market valuation.

The company’s stock has almost tripled in last 12 months, in part due to an uptick in annual snowfall that translated to more visits to Intrawest’s mountain resorts. The snowy weather marked a rebound after unseasonably warm weather weighed on the company’s performance in 2015.

Intrawest’s best known ski properties include Stratton Mountain in Vermont, Mont Tremblant in Quebec and Steamboat in Colorado. It also owns mountain resorts, adventure retreats and real estate across the United States and Canada.

The Denver-based company offers high-end “heli-skiing” packages, referred to as Canadian Mountain Holidays, where guests are transported by helicopter to remote locations, including lodges in the Canadian Rockies. Trips can cost $10,000.

Intrawest has pushed to expand its summer resort offerings, including hikes on glaciers and mountains, as a way to even bookings outside of ski seasons.

Early last year, Intrawest completed the sale of its timeshare business to Diamond Resorts International for $85 million, a move many of its peers have taken as the business has fallen out of favor among consumers.

Fortress took Intrawest private in 2006 for $2.8 billion, and then took it public again in 2014.

Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Additional reporting by Carl O'Donnell and Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Sandra Maler

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