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Vail Resorts stays mum about Fortress-Intrawest-Whistler drama

Whistler village is the centerpiece of Whistler-Blackcomb.

With Intrawest’s owner’s financial challenges, there has been some discussion about whether Vail Resorts would be interested in acquiring it’s North American rival, Whistler-Blackcomb.

Fortress, which owns Whistler’s operator Intrawest, recently struck a deal with its creditors and won’t be selling off assets anytime soon. But should things change down the road, it is believed that Vail Resorts would be a contender to acquire the British Columbia ski resort.

Vail Resorts is believed to have around USD $400 million (€292m) available to spend, made up of about 15 per cent cash in hand and 85 per cent available credit.

Vail’s Chief Executive Officer Rob Katz isn’t showing any of his cards yet. He didn’t offer a comment when asked by journalists recently whether Vail Resorts might be interested if such a purchase became a possibility. The question came up during a media question and answer session on Vail’s second quarter earnings.

“Our company has always had an interest in acquisitions and strategic growth and we still do,” said Katz. “We’re absolutely interested in doing something but won’t unless it’s justified by the asset and the economic environment. Overall, our balance sheet position remains strong.”

Before a deal was struck, Fortress was having trouble paying creditors, who in turn threatened to sell of Whistler-Blackcomb during the Olympics in February.

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