Lenders seize Olympic ski resort in Canada
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Lenders have seized the assets of Intrawest ULC, including the Whistler ski resort that will be home to the Olympic downhill races next month.
A public notice has been posted in newspapers by the company’s lenders, which include Lehman Brothers, saying that an auction to sell the assets will be held on Feb. 19, right in the midst of the Olympics.
Vancouver-based Intrawest, which is owned by New York private equity firm Fortress Investment Group LLC, reportedly missed payments last month that were due on a $1.4 billion loan.
Intrawest has been struggling with financial problems since it was bought by Fortress in 2006 for $2.8 billion in cash and debt.
The deal was a leveraged buyout with a $1.7 billion loan which came due in late 2008, around the time when the financial crisis hit.
Intrawest has sold several assets in order to meet the payments, including a resort at Copper Mountain, Colorado, and two resorts in France.
Calls to the company were not immediately returned.
“We understandably cannot comment on Intrawest’s finances beyond our continued support for their efforts to settle outstanding financial matters,” Dan Doyle, the Vancouver organizing committee’s executive vice president of construction, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“What we can confirm is that Whistler Blackcomb is an important partner in the staging of the 2010 Games and we continue working in very close partnership with them to finalize overall preparations and readiness for the skiing and sliding sport events. We look forward, with them, to welcoming the world in 23 days,” he said.
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