Featured Image: Courtesy of Mount Sunapee
Two weeks ago, we reported that the biggest corporation in skiing, Vail Resorts, would be purchasing four new resorts: Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Colorado, Stevens Pass, Washington, Okemo Mountain, Vermont and Mount Sunapee, New Hampshire via two separate transactions totaling $82 million. According to the Attorney General, however, the proposed takeover of Mount Sunapee will require New Hampshire state approval before the deal can proceed, slowing Vail’s procurement of mid-sized ski resorts.
The deal gives Vail the sublease required to operate Sunapee, but not the lease to the land itself, which is owned by the state. Currently, a New York-based hedge fund called Och-Ziff Capital Management holds the land lease with the state and Vail said in its announcement that it would spend $155 million to buy out the sublease and take control of the land lease entirely. In order for the deal to go through, Vail will first need the approval Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Commissioner Sarah Stewart.
As reported by the Concord Monitor, a local newspaper in New Hampshire, “Under the state’s land lease, first drafted in 1998, any transfers of the underlying land lease require state approval. But advocates, citing a recent surprise acquisition, had been worried that the details of the new sale could evade public oversight.”
To ensure transparency and ease skepticism during this deal, Vail has organized a public information session set for Tuesday at the Newbury, NH town offices, just a few miles from the chairlifts at Sunapee. For the Newbury locals who want to see the “Evil Empire” stay away from Sunapee, this logistical step may give reason for hope; yet, this approval is reason for excitement and optimism for many local business owners.