It is the first time a US resort operator has made such a move into Europe and it will be watched closely. Vail Resorts says it will invest in the resort and work with the local community.
Vail Resorts has entered into an agreement to purchase a majority stake in Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG from Andermatt Swiss Alps AG.
It will take a 55% ownership with ASA keeping a 40% stake and a group of existing shareholders comprising ownership of the remaining 5%.
Vail Resorts and ASA says they plan to continue to operate Andermatt-Sedrun with “a local, independent focus by retaining all employees, the existing operational infrastructure, and local expertise”.
Unlike many European ski areas where ownership is divided amoung many groups, organisations and individuals the company controls and operates all of the resort’s mountain and ski-related assets.
These include the lift system, most of the restaurants and the main ski school.
“Entering the European ski market has been a long-term strategic priority for Vail Resorts,” said Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch in a statement.
“We are excited to be partnering with ASA and investing our capital and resources to support the ongoing development of Andermatt-Sedrun into one of the premier alpine destination resorts in Europe, with integrated operations in lifts, food and ski school.”
Vail Resorts’ CHF 149 million investment is comprised of a CHF 110 million investment into capital and CHF 39 million which will be paid to ASA and fully reinvested into the real estate developments in the base area.
Vail Resorts will assume operating and marketing responsibility for Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG, with ASA and local stakeholders continuing as key members of the board of directors.
The SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun has 120km of varied terrain and a high point of 3,000m.
“Vail Resorts is the ideal partner for our goal of developing Andermatt into The Prime Alpine Destination,” said Samih Sawiris, majority owner of ASA.
“With Vail Resorts’ additional capital investment in the resort, deep expertise in successful operations of integrated mountain destinations, and the company’s impressive marketing capabilities and destination guest reach, Vail Resorts will provide a significant boost to the development of Andermatt-Sedrun.”
The transaction is expected to be completed ahead of the 2022-23 ski season, subject to certain third-party consents.
Here at PlanetSKI we will bring you further reaction and analysis shortly.