Rumours continue regarding Vail Resorts takeover
By STRUAN JONES
NO further information has come to light regarding the suspected takeover of the Mount Hotham and Falls Creek Skiing Companies by Vail Resorts, despite ongoing speculation.
A Fairfax media report from December 20 estimated the deal at $120 million, as the New York-Listed Vail Resorts reportedly looks to take over the two Victorian Resorts, currently managed by British company Merlin Entertainments.
In a statement on their corporate websites, Falls Creek and Mount Hotham Resort Management made similar statements, saying they “are unable to confirm if this [the offer] has happened.”
Vail Resorts already owns 15 ski fields across the US, Canada and Australia, including Australia’s largest ski resort, Perisher in New South Wales, which it purchased in 2015.
In response to an Alpine Observer enquiry, a Vail Resorts spokeswoman, Johnna Muscente declined to comment.
“We do not comment on or speculate about acquisition rumours,” she said.
The Observer also contacted Merlin Entertainments and received a similar response from spokeswoman Kristy Brown.
According to the December 20 media report, the offer is considered to be worth 10-times the annual earnings of the ski resorts, and would bring the 450-hectre Falls Creek and the 320-hectre Mount Hotham into the network of resorts accessible with Vail’s Epic Pass.
While Falls Creek doesn’t specifically target overseas visitors to the resort, it is believed Vail Resorts may be looking to the future of skiing in Australia as a market for Chinese visitors.
With China to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, winter sports is booming in that country, and an incredible 646 resorts have been built in the last two decades, according to an ABC report from February 2018, meaning a lot more skiers with ambitions to ski abroad.