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Intrawest / Fortress

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Here is an interesting article regarding the Intrawest auciton.


Creditors announce auction of CMH parent company Intrawest assets


Revelstoke Times Review

Text By Aaron Orlando - Revelstoke Times Review

Published: January 25, 2010 6:00 PM


News that creditors of a company that ultimately owns the Whistler-Blackcomb resort were going to auction off Intrawest assets sent media outlets into somewhat of a frenzy last week, especially since the auction was timed to take place in the middle of the 2010 Olympics.


Intrawest controls about two dozen resort properties in Canada and the U.S., about half of which are ski-related. Of local interest, Intrawest owns Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH), a major heli-skiing operation with mountain lodges and heli-skiing operations across the region.


The notice of public auction published in major U.S. and Canadian national newspapers last week says that qualified buyers can purchase ‘membership interests’ in Intrawest that would result in indirect ownership of the properties at a Feb. 19 auction in New York City.


What happens after the auction is still in question. A representative from a Delaware-based trust company conducting the auction, as well as a New York-based lawyer representing some creditors of Intrawest’s parent company Fortress Investment Group both declined to comment when contacted by the Times Review last week.


Vancouver-based Intrawest spokesperson Ian Galbraith sought to reassure that the company was firmly in control of operations, including CMH. “What that means for CMH, that means CMH is an active part of Intrawest portfolio resort properties and business units, and it’s business as usual. The ownership model hasn’t changed and that’s where we’re at today,” he said.


“The fact is that Fortress Investment Group, that is our parent company, continues to own and control Intrawest and all of its properties, and CMH and all the lodges within are part of that portfolio, so there’s no change -- it’s business as usual at all of our resorts -- and that includes CMH,” said Galbraith.


The auction announcement is only the latest development in Intrawest’s ongoing struggles. Following its purchase in 2006 by Fortress, Intrawest has struggled with debt issues, including missing multi-million dollar payments late last year.


Although to most British Columbians the story appears to be at first glance to be about a ski resort company on the rocks, the core of the matter has more to do with Wall Street and the ongoing aftershocks of the credit crunch than actual day to day operations.


The connection between the timing of the auction and the 2010 Olympics has served to pique interest in this developing story.


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This journalist nailed-it with the last two sentences....

"the core of the matter has more to do with Wall Street and the ongoing aftershocks of the credit crunch than actual day to day operations.

The connection between the timing of the auction and the 2010 Olympics has served to pique interest in this developing story."


I spoke to someone from within CMH/Alpine over the weekend. He said the same thing.

He also said to remember that all the components of Intrawest such as Whistler or CMH or Alpine are separate business entities, and some of these companies make money and have cash in the bank, even though their parent may be in dire straits.

Therefore it would be best for these components to carry-on business as usual, and because of their stability they may not be part of the upcoming auction.......(though many analysts still think the auction is just a bluff on the creditors part).

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I can confirm that one; I'm an avalanche tech at Pano in the winters (have been for, oh, WAY too long :D).


The Pano sale has been in the works for quite a while - much longer than all the Intrawest hoo-ha in the news, anyways. From the meeting I attended this morning, I think it's a very positive thing for Panorama anyways - it was bought by a group of "local" investors (read: Calgarians who ski here) who have a long term vision for the hill and an interest in seeing it do well, as opposed to selling off chunks of real estate then getting out.


No doubt it will ease Intrawest's money concerns a bit, and I can't help but wonder how the deal was sweetened for the new buyers what with the recent events at Intrawest.


Now, if I could only convince our new owners that ski patrol needs an R44. I'd be happy to drive! :P

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