Olympic venue owner In­trawest staves off auc­tion un­til af­ter Olympics

Cape Breton Post - - COMMENT - BY SUNNY FREE­MAN

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.

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