At The Michael Fahy Group, we are proud supporters of the B.C. economy and we play close attention to initiatives that stimulate growth and employment. So we are following with interest the news about the takeover of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings by an American mountain resort operator, Colorado-based Vail Resorts.
Positioned as ‘friendly’ by Whistler Blackcomb’s David Brownlie, the transaction totals approximately $1.4 billion and is expected to give the ski resort access to the money and the markets it needs to grow its status as one of the world’s leading, year-round destinations. “Working with Vail will accelerate our business plan and we’re excited to move forward with it,” Brownlie added.
Vail Resorts CEO, Rob Katz, said he is committed to expanding the all-season resort, located just 125 kilometres north of Vancouver. Added Katz: “We have felt for a long time that Whistler Blackcomb is really the best positioned North American resort to benefit from the growth that we expect in outbound Chinese ski visitation, especially as China starts to ramp up towards the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.”
This new development will help Whistler Blackcomb build on its ambitious $345 million expansion project intended to construct more weather-independent facilities, improve on-mountain infrastructure and expand real estate offerings.
Markets responded extremely well to news of the transaction, as Whistler Blackcomb’s stock shot up nearly 45% in the immediate hours following the announcement. Whistler Blackcomb shareholders are being offered $676 million of cash and Vail stock worth about $715 million.
Right now, Whistler Blackcomb is the largest and most popular ski resort in North America, a dramatic transformation for a resort that first opened in 1966. In those distant days, the Whistler resort initially consisted of a four-person gondola, a double chairlift and a day lodge.
Whistler Blackcomb is a magnificent success story and we welcome its continued expansion and development.