KSL Capital Partners, a private equity firm that has been purchasing ski resorts like Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows and leasing them back to their operators, scooped up Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc’s (WBH) 24% of Intrawest shares, 9,092,500 to be exact, on December 3 for $12.75/per share. WBH owns a 75% stake in Whistler Blackcomb resort.
As a result of the sale by Intrawest, Bill Jensen has tendered his resignation as a director and Chief Executive Officer and each of Wes Edens and Jonathan Ashley has tendered his resignation as a director of the Corporation, effective as of the time of closing. Also effective as of the time of closing, the Corporation’s board of directors has appointed Dave Brownlie, the Corporation’s current President and Chief Operating Officer, as the Corporation’s President and Chief Executive Officer and a director, and appointed Eric Resnick and Peter McDermott, both of KSL, as directors to fill the vacancies created by these resignations. Mr. Resnick is co-founder and Managing Director of KSL and has deep, long-standing ties to the ski industry. Mr. McDermott is a partner at KSL.
Concurrently with these appointments, the Corporation’s board of directors has appointed Flora Ferraro, the Corporation’s current Vice President of Finance, as Interim Chief Financial Officer. The Corporation intends to announce the appointment of a permanent chief financial officer shortly.
"KSL is delighted to be acquiring a 24% interest in a world-class ski area. Whistler Blackcomb is the largest and most visited ski resort in North America and we feel that it complements our portfolio of premier travel and leisure properties. Peter and I are looking forward to working with the board to grow the business. Whistler Blackcomb has a very experienced and successful management team and we are enthusiastic to work with them as they continue to deliver a fantastic mountain experience for Whistler Blackcomb’s guests" commented Mr. Resnick.
"On behalf of the board of directors, I am very pleased to welcome Eric Resnick and Peter McDermott to the board. We would also like to express our appreciation to Wes Edens and Jonathan Ashley for their contributions to Whistler Blackcomb during their tenure on the board, and especially to Bill Jensen, for his valued service as Chief Executive Officer and as a director", commented Graham Savage, Chairman of the Corporation’s board of directors. "We are also pleased to appoint Dave Brownlie as Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the board of directors. With over 24 years in ski resort management, Dave brings insight and experience to the position and I am looking forward to continuing to work with him to grow the business".
According to the release KSL expects to hold the purchased shares for investment purposes.
However, KSL and its affiliates expect to evaluate on an ongoing basis the Corporation’s financial condition and prospects and its interest in, and intentions with respect to, the Corporation and KSL’s investment. KSL and its affiliates may from time to time acquire additional common shares of the Corporation or may dispose of all or a part of their shares.
Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. owns a 75% interest in each of Whistler Mountain Resort Limited Partnership and Blackcomb Skiing Enterprises Limited Partnership, which, together, carry on the four season mountain resort business located in the Resort Municipality of Whistler, British Columbia. Whistler Blackcomb, the official alpine skiing venue for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, is situated in the Resort Municipality of Whistler located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia 125 kilometres (78 miles) from Vancouver, British Columbia. North America’s premier four-season mountain resort, Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain are two side-by-side mountains, connected by the world record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, which combined offer over 200 marked runs, over 8,000 acres of terrain, 14 alpine bowls, three glaciers, receive on average over 1,192 centimetres (469 inches) of snow annually, and offer one of the longest ski seasons in North America. In the summer, Whistler Blackcomb offers a variety of activities, including hiking and biking trails, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, and sightseeing on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
KSL is a private equity firm specializing in travel and leisure enterprises in five primary sectors: hospitality, recreation, clubs, real estate and travel services. KSL has offices in Denver, Colorado and New York. KSL’s current portfolio includes some of the premier properties in travel and leisure, including The Belfry, The Grove Park Inn, The Homestead, Montelucia Resort & Spa, Barton Creek Resort & Spa, Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, The James Royal Palm, La Costa Resort and Spa, and ClubCorp, one of the world’s largest owners of private golf and business clubs. KSL also owns other premier recreation businesses, including Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, two of the leading ski resorts in North America; and Western Athletic Clubs, the owner and operator of luxury fitness clubs in California.