Olympic sking site to be auctioned off?
WHISTLER, British Columbia -- An auction that would sell off the Olympic Alpine hosts in the middle of the games has reportedly been postponed by a week -- two days short of the closing ceremony.
Whistler-Blackcomb and other assets of resort operator Intrawest were set to go on the block Friday as creditors seek to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars in loans it made to the company's owner, New York hedge fund Fortress.
But the creditors, which include defunct investment bank Lehman Brothers, delayed the auction to Feb. 26 as they try to reach a last minute deal with Fortress, according to Toronto's Globe and Mail.
Intrawest spokesman Ian Galbraith called reports of the postponement "speculation," but confirmed that "serious discussions with Intrawest's lenders are ongoing regarding refinancing."
Calls to Fortress went unanswered.
Analysts say creditors may be trying to juice as much Olympic marketing glamour out of the games as they can. But Will Marks of JMP Securities said he doubted Whistler would go to auction.
"I think [the auction] is a threat," Marks said. "I think at some point we'll see closure on this and it won't be in the form of an auction."
In 2006 Fortress paid $2.8 billion for Intrawest, which operates several elite resorts in North America, in a highly leveraged buyout. With property prices sagging, Fortress is now reportedly late on payments on a $1.4 billion loan.
Re: Olympic sking site to be auctioned off?
Heard about this a while back. Would hate to see Whistler-Blackcomb change too much. Spent a week there a couple years ago and planning to go next winter or spring. So much terrain and high quality snow.