Receiver Concludes Successful Auction as Pacific Group Resorts, Inc set to add sixth resort to portfolio
Vermont Business Magazine Michael Goldberg, the court-appointed receiver for Jay Peak Resort, announced September 8 that the original bidder, Pacific Group Resorts, Inc (PGRI), has made the highest and best final bid of $76 million to buy Jay Peak following an auction with multiple bidders on September 7. PGRI’s initial stalking horse bid was $58 million. The other bidders were not named.
The prevailing bid was approved by Judge Darrin Gayles of the United States District Court in Southern Florida during a final hearing September 16, 2022. Goldberg told the judge there were a total of three bidders.
The closing is expected this fall. Jay Peak will become the sixth ski resort in PGRI’s portfolio including properties in British Columbia, Colorado, Virginia, Maryland, and New Hampshire.
Goldberg also told the judge that Jay's sister resort, Burke Mountain, could soon also go through a similar auction process. Burke also was caught up in the EB-5 process. It too was owned by Ariel Quiros and was run by his son until the federal raid on the resorts in April 2016. Burke would likely fetch a much smaller price.
According to vtdigger.org, Goldberg told Gayles that he would have a definitive accounting at the time of the closing, but as of the September 16 hearing, Goldberg anticipated that creditors would get about 40 cents on the dollar. Overall, vtdigger.org quoted Gayles as saying that: “I do note that this is a fair resolution. It's actually a pretty good resolution.”
Goldberg said at the conclusion of the auction, “With the success of this auction, we are one step closer to concluding the receivership of Jay Peak Resort. It has been six long years during which the resort has made tremendous progress under the leadership of general manager Steve Wright and his team and the guidance of Leisure Hotels. The time had come to put the resort back into private hands, and our investment bank, Houlihan Lokey, ran a strong sale process for us culminating in a very competitive auction. We are pleased an experienced operating company like Pacific Group Resorts ended up with this great asset.”
PGRI’s president and CEO, Vern Greco, noted, “We began pursuing this acquisition over three years ago and couldn’t be more pleased with the auction’s outcome which paves the way to add Jay Peak to our growing family of resorts. Jay has a high-quality team of dedicated employees who have weathered the uncertainty of the receivership for a long time. We look forward to bringing renewed stability to the property and its staff, we’re enthusiastic about the prospects for the resort, and we are delighted to be in Vermont which is an important market for any mountain resort operator.”
The transaction is expected to close prior to the 2022-23 ski and snowboard season.
Each PGRI property is managed independently, and Greco said no major changes are contemplated to the winter operating plan at Jay Peak.
All existing season passes, pass reciprocity, and multiresort pass arrangements at Jay, including the Indy Pass, will be honored for the 2022-23 winter season.
Mark Fischer, PGRI’s executive vice-president and CFO who led the acquisition effort said, “The opportunity to own a resort like Jay Peak, with its considerable upside and a solid reputation, does not come along very often. The acquisition of Jay is an important step forward for our whole company and for our employees. We could not be more excited to welcome Jay Peak and its staff to our family.”
Vermont Governor Phil Scott said: "As I await the full details on the sale, today marks another positive step forward and represents the beginning of a new chapter for the region. I extend my appreciation for those who continue to work to support the people of the Northeast Kingdom, and I look forward to seeing the opportunities ahead unfold.”
About Jay Peak
Jay Peak is a four-season resort in Northern Vermont, close to the Canadian border and about 60 miles north of Burlington. Jay features 385 acres of skiing and snowboarding terrain serviced by nine lifts including Vermont’s only aerial Tram plus a year-round indoor waterpark, an indoor ice arena, an extensive recreation center, multi-purpose athletic fields, and an 18-hole championship golf course. The resort is best known for its 356 inches of average annual snowfall, which is the most east of the Rocky Mountains, and a wide range of accommodations, dining options, and unique events catering to all types of visitors.
About Pacific Group Resorts Inc. (PGRI)
Pacific Group Resorts, Inc. is a geographically diversified international resort operating company based in Park City, Utah whose portfolio includes Wintergreen Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Wisp Resort in the Appalachian Mountains of western Maryland, Ragged Mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Mt. Washington Alpine Resort in the Beaufort Mountain Range on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and Powderhorn Mountain Resort on the Grand Mesa of western Colorado. Among the resorts, there are over 3,500 acres of ski terrain, 81 holes of golf, lift served mountain biking, ZipTours, canopy tours, aerial challenge courses, five pools, water sports on two lakes, lodging accommodations for more than 3,000 people, more than 30 food outlets, and a full-service spa. For more information on PGRI, please visit www.pgri.us.
JAY, VERMONT – Jay Peak Resort jaypeakresort.com. Photos courtesy Jay Peak Resort