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Vail Resorts on Wednesday issued the following press release on its acquisition of several Pennsylvania ski areas owned by Pittsburgh Pirates owner and newspaperman Robert Nutting, who recently announced his company’s acquisition of Swift Communications, which owns the Vail Daily and other Colorado ski-town papers:
BROOMFIELD, Colo., Dec. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to purchase Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania from Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Inc. As a part of the acquisition, Vail Resorts will also acquire Hidden Valley Resort and the operations of Laurel Mountain Ski Area. The purchase price for the ski areas, plus a hotel, conference center and other related operations, is approximately $125 million, subject to certain adjustments.
“We are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to add Seven Springs to our family of resorts along with Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain,” said Kirsten Lynch, chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. “As a company, we have been focused on acquiring resorts near major metropolitan areas as we know many skiers and riders build their passion for the sport close to home. These great ski areas in Pennsylvania are a perfect complement to our existing resorts, creating a much stronger connection and compelling offering to our current and future guests in Pittsburgh as well as those in other critical markets such as Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Cleveland.”
Seven Springs is Pennsylvania’s premier four-season family resort. It is located one hour southeast of Pittsburgh and is among the largest ski resorts in Pennsylvania with 285 skiable acres and 750 vertical feet. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Seven Springs offers significant resort amenities, including a 418-room hotel, conference center, a full-service spa and tubing. Hidden Valley offers 110 skiable acres and 470 vertical feet, with 26 slopes and trails and two terrain parks. Laurel Mountain offers 70 skiable acres and 761 vertical feet.
“The resorts truly are a part of the fabric of this region and a critical community asset. I am extremely proud of our stewardship of Seven Springs and its sister resorts, and even more so of all the people who we have worked with side-by-side to transform them into what they are today,” said Robert Nutting, president and chief executive officer of Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Inc. “It has been an honor to be a part of their incredible growth for more than a decade and leave each resort a much stronger community asset than we found it.”
“Vail Resorts is a perfect successor with a proven track record of honoring the unique character of each of its resorts,” added Nutting. “They are the industry leader in investing in the guest experience, employee development and environmental stewardship. We are thrilled that the resorts will now become part of Vail Resorts’ network and are confident that Vail Resorts will continue to invest in what makes these resorts so special.”
Vail Resorts is acquiring all of the assets related to the mountain operations of the resorts and related base area lodging, conference center and amenities. Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Inc. is retaining select neighboring operations, including Highlands Market, Sporting Clays at Seven Springs, Seven Springs Golf Course and Hidden Valley Golf Club, Highlands Resort Realty and certain real estate owned and held for potential future development.
The transaction is expected to close this winter, however, operations at the three resorts for the 2021-22 winter season will continue in the ordinary course of business. Vail Resortsplans to add access to the three resorts to select Epic Pass products for the 2022-23 North American ski and ride season.
Additional Transaction Details
The acquisition is expected to generate incremental annual EBITDA in excess of $15 million in Vail Resorts’ fiscal year ending July 31, 2023. This expected impact includes an estimated incremental annual EBITDA of approximately $5 million associated with the 418-room Slopeside Hotel and associated conference facilities and lodging operations at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. After closing the transaction, annual ongoing capital expenditures are expected to increase by approximately $3 million to support the addition of these resorts.
Vail Resorts will, subject to receipt of consent from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, assume the state land lease for Laurel Mountain. Upon closing, Vail Resorts plans to retain the vast majority of each resort’s employees and will be working with the local leadership teams in the coming months to determine the right long-term management structure for the resorts.