Pacific Group Resorts Wins Jay Peak Auction

Park City based Pacific Group Resorts, Inc. placed the highest bid – $76 million – at an auction yesterday for Jay Peak Resort. Subject to court approval, Jay will join PGRI’s group of five ski resorts located across the United States and Canada. “With the success of this auction, we are one step closer to concluding the receivership of Jay Peak Resort,” said Jay Peak receiver Michael Goldberg. “It has been six long years during which the resort has made tremendous progress under the leadership of general manager Steve Wright and his team and the guidance of Leisure Hotels. The time had come to put the resort back into private hands, and our investment bank, Houlihan Lokey, ran a strong sale process for us culminating in a very competitive auction. We are pleased an experienced operating company like Pacific Group Resorts ended up with this great asset.” The sale price of $76 million is $18 million over the auction’s opening bid. The identities of other bidder(s) were not disclosed.

“We began pursuing this acquisition over three years ago and couldn’t be more pleased with the auction’s outcome which paves the way to add Jay Peak to our growing family of resorts,” said Pacific Group Resorts President and CEO Vern Greco. “Jay has a high quality team of dedicated employees who have weathered the uncertainty of the receivership for a long time. We look forward to bringing renewed stability to the property and its staff, we’re enthusiastic about the prospects for the resort, and we are delighted to be in Vermont which is an important market for any mountain resort operator.”

A court hearing to approve the sale is scheduled for next Friday and the transaction is expected to close prior to the start of the 2022-23 ski season. There will be no changes to season passes or Indy Pass participation for this season. Burke Mountain, which is also under receivership, will be marketed separately at a later date.

Pacific Group Resorts Bids $58 Million for Jay Peak

The Jay Peak Receiver today filed a motion to enter a sale agreement with Pacific Group Resorts, Inc., a Park City-based operator of five North American ski areas. Importantly, the proposed sale process allows for bids from other companies in excess of PGRI’s $58 million offer. “The time has come for the Receiver to sell the Jay Peak Resort,” wrote Akerman LLP, the law firm appointed to oversee Jay Peak and related assets after the Securities and Exchange Commission uncovered widespread fraud. “When the Receiver took over the Jay Peak Resort in April 2016, it was on the verge of collapse having little money and making very little profit,” receiver Michael Goldberg wrote. “Now, after more than six years, the Jay Peak Resort is significantly more profitable and hundreds of jobs have been saved. The Receiver attributes this success to his top notch management team and the dedicated employees who work tirelessly to make Jay Peak one of the greatest ski resorts in the country,” The Asset Purchase Agreement does not include Burke Mountain assets, which are currently part of the same receivership.

It’s not clear how long the sale process will take but under the agreement potential bidders would have 30 days from the time the District Court approves bid procedures to submit offers. If qualified bidder(s) beyond Pacific Group emerge, a private auction would take place shortly after the bid deadline. Should another buyer prevail, Pacific Group would be paid a breakup fee of $1.25 million plus expenses from the sale proceeds. “Other parties have expressed interest in purchasing the Jay Peak Resort over the past few years, however, only Pacific Group Resorts, Inc. has been willing to submit a binding bid,” notes the motion. “The Receiver is hopeful that perhaps another bidder will surface at the auction.”

No matter who ends up with Jay Peak, the sale will certainly have season pass implications. Pacific Group Resorts currently operates Mt. Washington Alpine Resort on Vancouver Island, Powderhorn Resort in Colorado, Wisp Resort in Maryland, Wintergreen Resort in Virginia and Ragged Mountain Resort in New Hampshire. None of those mountains currently participate in the Epic, Ikon or Indy multi-mountain passes. Jay Peak on the other hand is the single largest Indy Pass resort by redemptions.

After news of the potential deal surfaced, Pacific Group Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Christian Knapp tweeted “The possibility of Pacific Group Resorts, Inc. purchasing Jay Peak Resort is extremely exciting and would be an incredible fit for our company, but by no means is it a done deal. Filing the APA is one more step in an extraordinarily long process that started more than 3 years ago.”