Merlin Entertainments sells Australian ski resorts to Vail
Hotham is the only resort in the southern Hemisphere where the village is located on top of the mountain

Merlin Entertainments sells Australian ski resorts to Vail

Vail Resorts has entered into an agreement to purchase the ski fields at Falls Creek Alpine Resort and Hotham Alpine Resort in Victoria, Australia.

Falls Creek is Victoria’s largest ski resort, features a variety of terrain including fantastic beginner and intermediate trails that are well suited to families and first-timers.

Hotham is the only resort in the southern Hemisphere where the village is located on top of the mountain, ensuring ski-in, ski-out opportunities from anywhere in the village.

The acquisition, which is subject to certain regulatory approvals, is expected to close prior to the commencement of the Australian snow season in June 2019.

Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, said: “We are pleased to reach this agreement with Vail Resorts, which will allow us to focus on our core business of location-based entertainment, specifically theme parks and Midway attractions.

“It will see the business transfer to a company with a strong track record in ski resort development, and we wish Vail Resorts and the teams in Australia well.”

Vail will purchase Australian Alpine Enterprises Holdings and all related corporate entities that operate Falls Creek and Hotham resorts from Living and Leisure Australia Group, a subsidiary of Merlin Entertainments, for a purchase price of approximately AU$174 million.

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The deal represents a multiple of 8.8 on 2018 EBITDA.

“We are thrilled to welcome the guests and employees of both Falls Creek and Hotham into the Vail Resorts family and further strengthen our position in Australia, which is one of our most important international markets.

“The acquisition of the leading mountain resorts in Victoria is part of our continued strategy to drive season pass sales and build loyalty with guests from around the world,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.

“After our success connecting with skiers in Sydney and across New South Wales since acquiring Perisher in 2015, we have a huge opportunity to create a deeper connection with Melbourne and broader Victorian skiers and riders.”