Saturday, September 21, 2019, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
Peak Resorts shareholders approved the sale of their company to Vail at a special meeting yesterday, with 89% of common shareholders voting in favor of the deal. The $264 million transaction is expected to close early next week, barring any legal setbacks.
Vail will become the largest operator in New England with a portfolio of Okemo, Mt. Snow, and Stowe in Vermont and Attitash, Crotched, Sunapee, and Wildcat in New Hampshire. The Epic Pass will be valid at all Peak Resorts areas, while Peak Pass holders will be able to retain their pass this year or pay to upgrade to Epic.
Peak Resorts dates back to 1982, when Tim Boyd opened Hidden Valley ski area in Missouri. The company's first New England venture started in 2003, when it reopened Crotched Mountain. Major acquisitions included Attitash and Mount Snow in 2007, Wildcat in 2010, Hunter in 2015, and Snow Time in 2018.
Vail Resorts dates back to 1996 when Vail Associates agreed to a merger with Ralston Resorts. After acquiring destination areas, Vail began acquiring feeder areas in 2012 and ventured into New England in 2017 with the addition of Stowe. Okemo and Sunapee followed in 2018.
Though the two publicly traded companies have a similar number of ski areas, Vail is roughly ten times larger than Peak in terms of assets and revenue. In terms of skier visits, Vail recorded 12.3 million as compared to Peak's 2.1 million in the most recent fiscal year.
Peak Resorts was dealing with a significant amount of debt, which contributed to a cash flow issue in 2016. As of the end of the 2019 fiscal year, Peak Resorts had nearly $216 million in long term debt. $52.7 million is due by the end of 2020 related to the Snow Time and Wildcat acquisitions. In addition, the interest rate on Peak Resorts' $114.2 million in EPR loans is set to increase in each of the next 5 years, with its Mt. Snow note reaching 12.5% in 2024. Vail Resorts closed the 2018 fiscal year with nearly $1.25 billion in long term debt.