Americans just bought Australia's biggest ski resort, Perisher, from James Packer

Winter X Games at Perisher Valley. Photo: Getty Images

US-based Vail Resorts has bought Australia’s Perisher Ski Resort for $AU176.6 million, becoming the only mountain resort company to operate ski resorts on two continents.

Vail acquired 100% of Perisher operators Murray Publishers Pty Ltd and Transfield Corporate Pty Ltd, subsidiaries owned by billionaire Australian businessman James Packer.

Perisher holds a long-term lease and license with the New South Wales government which expires in 2048, after which there’s a 20-year renewal option.

Perisher Ski Resort comprises the areas of Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega, as well as a ski school, accommodation, food and beverage outlets and retail/rental and transportation operations.

As part of the acquisition, Vail Resorts will offer Perisher pass holders free season-long access to its US resorts, enabling year-round skiing opportunities.

Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts, said the acquisition is part of a continued strategy to drive season pass sales.

“Australia is one of the most important international markets for ski resorts across the Northern Hemisphere, generating an estimated more than 1 million skier visits annually to resorts in North America, Japan and Europe,” he said.

Perisher has re-opened season pass sales for the upcoming ski season, which kicks off June 6.

Vail Resorts expects Perisher to generate incremental EBITDA of around $AU20 million and approximately $AU7.8 million in free cash flow during the first 12 months of operation following the acquisition.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of FY2015.

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