Olympic venue owner Intrawest staves off auction until after Olympics
The Winter Olympics end Sunday, while the Paralympic Games, which will also be held in part at Whistler, begin March 12.
Kai Li, a business professor at the University of British Columbia, said the latest delay is an attempt on behalf of the players involved to save face after being criticized for their Olympic timing.
“I don’t see any financial implications.... The most important thing is that it’s after the Olympics because there would have been huge negative publicity,” she said.
“ With the entire world, especially U.S. investors, watching the Olympics, it doesn’t make any sense for them.”
She believes the creditors also continue to delay the auction because there have not yet been any strong offers for the resorts. But she added the auction will likely go ahead after the Olympics because lenders, especially the now defunct Lehman Brothers, need the money.
A Fortress spokeswoman declined to comment Friday, while Intrawest spokesman Ian Galbraith referred to a statement issued Jan. 20.
“Fortress Investment Group continues to own and control Intrawest and all of its properties. Serious discussions with In t rawe s t ’ s lenders are ongoing regarding refi- nancing and the company continues to operate ’ business as usual’ at all of its resort properties,” it said.
Fortress missed payments in December that were due on a US$1.4-billion loan after the creditors, led by Lehman Brothers and Davidson Kempner Capital, twice extended debt repayment deadlines.
Fortress took on the debt to buy Intrawest in 2006 in a $2.8-billion leveraged buyout during the height of the real-estate bubble.