BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Vail Resorts, Inc. and Whistler Blackcomb Holdings, Inc. have entered into a strategic business merger.
Under the transaction, Vail Resorts will acquire 100 per cent of Whistler Blackcomb stocks with current shareholders receiving $17.50 per share in cash and 0.0975 shares of Vail Resorts common stock. The share-exchange ratio was based on closing stock prices and currency exchange rates as of August 5. The transaction’s aggregate cash component is estimated to be $676 million (US$513 million), while its aggregate stock component is estimated at $715 million (US$543 million). Upon closing of the transaction, Whistler Blackcomb will own roughly 10 per cent of Vail Resorts’ outstanding common stock.
“Combining Whistler Blackcomb with Vail Resorts’ portfolio of outstanding resorts provides Whistler Blackcomb with increased financial strength, marketing exposure and guest relationships and broadens the geographic diversity of our company with resorts across the U.S., as well as in Australia and Canada,” says Dave Brownlie, CEO, Whistler Blackcomb. “This relationship will bring greater resources to support our current operations and our ambitious growth plans, including the Renaissance project — the most exciting and transformative investment in Whistler Blackcomb’s history.”
One member from Whistler Blackcomb’s board will be selected to join Vail Resorts. Dave Brownlie will be both COO and a member of the senior leadership team at the Vail Resorts’ mountain division.
“Whistler Blackcomb is one of the most iconic mountain resorts in the world with an incredible history, passionate employees and a strong community. With our combined experience and expertise, together we will build upon the guest experience at Whistler Blackcomb while preserving the unique brand and character of the resort as an iconic Canadian destination for guests around the world,” says Rob Katz, chairman and CEO, Vail Resorts.
Following the transaction’s completion, Vail Resorts plans to continue investing in the Whistler property and community in order to grow the company’s existing success. The list of initiatives include support for master-development agreements with local Fist Nations groups; local leadership; maintaining local employment; investment in the resort experience; and common values on community and environmental sustainability.
For the 2016 to 2017 winter season, Whistler Blackcomb will continue honouring its existing season pass products. However, for the 2017 to 2018 season, Whistler Blackcomb’s season passes will be integrated with Vail Resorts’ Epic Season Pass and other season pass products.
Whistler Blackcomb’s 25-year relationship with Nippon Cable will not be affected by the transaction.
Prior to its official closing, the transaction is subject to approval by Whistler Blackcomb shareholders, the B.C. Supreme Court and by the Investment Canada Act under the Competition Act Canada. The transaction is expected to close in the fall of 2016.