MinterEllison has advised Vail Resorts, Inc. (Vail Resorts, NYSE: MTN) on its acquisition of Falls Creek Alpine Resort (“Falls Creek”) and Hotham Alpine Resort (“Hotham”) from Living and Leisure Australia Group (LLA), a subsidiary of Merlin Entertainments, for a purchase price of approximately A$174 million.
Vail Resorts, through its subsidiaries, is the leading global mountain resort operator with 15 world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas.
The acquisition of Falls Creek and Hotham will see Vail Resorts expand its Australian presence into Victoria. Vail Resorts also operate Perisher Ski Resort in New South Wales.
Falls Creek is Victoria’s largest ski resort and features an assortment of terrain, including fantastic beginner and intermediate trails suited to a range of abilities. 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.
The acquisition includes ski school, retail/rental, reservation and property management operations at both resort areas.
Subject to regulatory clearances, on closing Falls Creek and Mount Hotham will join Vail’s Epic Passes.
The Epic Australia Pass provides access to world-class skiing at resorts in the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia. Resorts in North America include Whistler Blackcomb, Vail, Park City, Crested Butte; and Hakuba Valley and Rusutsu in Japan.
"It's been exciting to work on this complex and transformative deal for the Victorian ski community, and help strengthen Vail Resorts footprint in Australia," said David Moore, MinterEllison's lead Partner. "These iconic Australian ski resorts will be in great hands, with Vail Resorts having a proven track record of investing heavily in and developing world-class resorts and their communities.”
The MinterEllison team was led by David Moore (Partner). The core deal team included Simon Cooper (Special Counsel) and Sarah Hampson and Mellissa Lai (Senior Associates). The complex deal required MinterEllison's broad expertise, knowledge base and relationships in areas including competition, foreign investment, tax, environment and planning and intellectual property.
The transaction, which is subject to certain regulatory approvals, is expected to close prior to the commencement of the Australian snow season in June 2019.