(file photo: Okemo Mountain Resort)

CNL Unloads 15 Ski Resorts

Kansas City, MO – In what may be the sale of the greatest number of ski resorts in a single transaction in world history, CNL Lifestyle Properties has finally reached an agreement to sell its 15 ski resorts located across the U.S. and Canada.

In a deal announced late yesterday, the transaction involves some of the biggest names in the ski industry, including:

  • Brighton Ski Resort, Utah
  • Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Colorado
  • Cypress Mountain, B.C., Canada
  • Gatlinburg Sky Lift, Tennessee
  • Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, Massachusetts
  • Loon Mountain Resort, New Hampshire
  • Mount Sunapee Mountain Resort, New Hampshire
  • Mountain High Resort, California
  • Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, California
  • Okemo Mountain Resort, Vermont
  • Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort, California
  • Stevens Pass, Washington
  • Sugarloaf Mountain Resort, Maine
  • Summit-at-Snoqualmie Resort, Washington
  • Sunday River Resort, Maine

The deal calls for EPR Properties, based in Kansas City, to purchase Northstar and CNL’s portfolio of waterparks, amusement parks and small family entertainment centers for $456 million, and provide another $244 million of five-year secured debt financing to Och-Ziff Real Estate (OZRE) to purchase 14 other ski resorts from CNL for a total of $374 million.

(file photo: Okemo Mountain Resort)
(file photo: Okemo Mountain Resort)

Skiers, however, can expect little change at their favorite CNL-owned resort. CNL is a real estate investment trust (REIT), and after purchasing each resort leased it back to its previous owner to continue to operate the mountain. Revenues are generated forthe REIT through lease payments paid by the resort’s operator. That relationship between owner and operator is not expected to change as a result of this deal as it’s merely the ski area’s ownership that’s changing hands.

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CNL first put its ski resort portfolio on the market in March 2015. It sold New Hampshire’s Bretton Woods piecemeal to the Omni hotel corporation, but expressed its intent to sell the others as a package.

“CNL Lifestyle Properties is proud to have built a unique portfolio of diversified properties, many of which are long-established and iconic of the American lifestyle, that created long-term value for shareholders,” stated Stephen H. Mauldin, CEO of CNL Lifestyle Properties. “We have deep respect for the approach EPR takes to managing its properties and believe this transaction is the best fit for selling the remaining properties in our portfolio as we complete our exit strategy to provide liquidity to shareholders.”

“We are extremely pleased to announce this transaction, which is the culmination of a two-year process of disciplined underwriting, due diligence and negotiations,” commented EPR Properties President and CEO Gregory Silvers. “This portfolio of high quality ski and attractions assets builds on our expertise in the Recreation segment, where we have a track record of delivering consistent and reliable cash flows. The transaction is not only expected to be immediately accretive, but it will also diversify our portfolio with proven, durable assets that are aligned with the positive trends we are seeing in the experience economy.”

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The Board of Trustees of EPR Properties and the Board of Directors of CNL Lifestyle have unanimously approved the Purchase and Sale Agreement and the transaction. This transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval of the transaction by shareholders holding at least a majority of the shares of common stock of CNL Lifestyle and various third party consents and governmental permits. The sale of Northstar to EPR cannot occur without the sale of the other resorts to OZRE and vice versa. It is anticipated that this transaction will close in early second quarter of 2017.

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