An anonymous bidder, and potentially more, has entered the auction to purchase Jay Peak Resort in Vermont, VTDigger reports.
Pacific Group Resorts, Inc. (PGRI) started the auction with a $58 million asset purchase agreement (APA) to acquire Jay Peak Resort, VT, reported Ski Area Management. The deadline for other companies to enter bids has been delayed from August 26th, 2022, to September 2nd, 2022.
VTDigger adds that Steve Wright, Jay Peak’s general manager, has told them there has been a surge in interest since the initial $58-million offer was submitted.
“There are multiple potential (and incremental) bidders at this point, but not at liberty to really disclose specifics at this point.”
– Steve Wright told VTDigger
The resort has been under court-appointed receivership since 2016 when fraud charges were brought against co-owners Ariel Quiros and Bill Stenger. The two men used the EB-5 Immigration Visa program to defraud foreign investors in the resort’s expansion in what was a “ponzi-like scheme”. Quiros pleaded guilty to money laundering and is currently serving a five year sentence. Stenger was also sentenced after pleading guilty.
“The time has come for the Receiver to sell the Jay Peak Resort. 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. In fact, the Receiver had many sleepless nights during the summer of 2016 wondering if he would be able to even make payroll. Now, after more than 6 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.”
– Michael Goldberg, court-appointed receiver
PGRI owns and operates five other North American ski areas: Ragged Mountain, NH, Wisp, MD, Wintergreen, VI, Powderhorn, CO, and Mount Washington Alpine, British Columbia.
Regarding other buyers, both Alterra and Vail Resorts checked out the ski resort back in 2019. Walter Elander, Jay Peak’s director of mountain planning and development talked about the sale progress, including visits by potential buyers, according to the minutes from a 2019 meeting.
“The first one is Alterra, they possibly have the funds, second is FoSun (privately owned), third is Pacific Group, fourth is two different groups Snow Operating and a fund called Oz, fifth is AWH (privately owned). He (Elander) stated Vail showed no interest in Jay Peak.”
– Walter Elander
Jay Peak has the largest average annual snowfall (359″) of any ski area east of the Rockies. It has 81 runs on 385 acres and is serviced by nine chairlifts.