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Ski resort operator Intrawest sells to Aspen Skiing and KSL for $1.5-billion

People take part in apres-ski activities in one of the common areas at the base of Mont Tremblant Thursday, March 19, 2009. The resort’s operator, Intrawest, has sold for $1.5-billion.

Peter Mccabe/The Canadian Press

The company behind the Mont Tremblant and Blue Mountain ski resorts has signed an agreement to be acquired in a friendly deal valued at $1.5-billion (U.S.), including debt.

Intrawest Resorts Holdings Inc. said Monday that U.S. ski resort company Aspen Skiing Co. and private equity firm KSL Capital Partners have agreed to pay $23.75 per share in cash.

Intrawest CEO Thomas Marano said the offer is a 40 per cent premium over where the company's shares were before a report in January speculating that it was exploring a potential sale. Intrawest shares were down $1.56 at $23.74 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday morning.

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"Our new partners bring additional financial resources and a shared passion for the mountains and our mountain communities," Marano said in a statement.

"Both Aspen and KSL are committed to helping Intrawest accelerate our plans to bring more value to our guests, more opportunities for our employees and more investment into our local communities."

In addition to Tremblant and Blue Mountain, Intrawest has Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado, Snowshoe in West Virginia and Stratton in Vermont. It also has an adventure travel business including heli-skiing company Canadian Mountain Holidays and a real estate business.

Aspen Skiing Co. owns and operates four mountains: Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. It also has hotels, retail and rental operations.

The companies also said Monday that Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, the parent company of the Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows resort and an affiliate of KSL, will also become part of the new entity at closing.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the third quarter of this year and is subject to certain closing conditions including regulatory approvals.

Private equity firm Fortress Investment Group acquired Intrawest in October 2006. Intrawest spun off its Whistler Blackcomb ski resort in an initial public offering in 2010 and was taken public itself in January 2014.

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Vail Resorts, the largest resort operator in North America, bought Whistler Blackcomb, in a $1.06-billion deal last year.

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