The possible takeover of Téléverbier (Verbier) SA by Vail Resorts?


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Thought this was an interesting post on Snowheads

However, a Vail acquisition of Verbier seems possible if you only had to deal with one family. Vail acquiring majority ownership of Verbier would be on par with acquiring Whistler/Blackcomb. And quite the combination with Crans Montana across the valley. You could heavily promote this.
One of the best intermediate mountains in Switzerland (Crans) and the best expert mountain in Switzerland (if not the planet), Verbier.

The possible takeover of Téléverbier SA by Vail Resorts

The facts

Last December, Vail Resorts announced the acquisition of the Crans-
Montana ski lifts. This transaction followed the takeover of 55% of the company operating the Andermatt-Sedrun
Andermatt-Sedrun in the summer of 2022.
Vail Resorts is also very likely to be interested in taking control of Téléverbier.
Their commercial strategy is to offer a 'multi-resort' annual pass, like the Magic Pass.
like the Magic Pass.
As for Téléverbier, the Burrus family is the main shareholder, holding between 40% and 55% of the capital.
of the capital. It is likely that they will also want to sell their shareholding in the short to medium term.
medium term.
The timing of such a takeover of TVSA by Vail Resorts could happen at very short notice.
two representatives of the Burrus family, together with Jean-Albert Ferrez, Chairman of the
Board of Directors, and Laurent Vaucher, CEO, have just spent a week in Vail.
Vail in January 2024.
If TVSA were to be taken over by Vail Resorts, it would be for the long term.
ownership of TVSA by Vail could last for decades. So the stakes are high!

For or against

The question now is whether such a takeover of Téléverbier by an American group is
appropriate. One advantage is certainly that Vail Resorts is the world's largest ski lift operator.
operator of ski lifts in the world, with 41 resorts to its name, mainly in the
United States. It is therefore a true industry professional. On the other hand, like any professionally run company
professionally managed company, Vail Resorts aims to maximise its profits;
in particular by bringing as many skiers as possible to the ski area and by pushing far
diversification, for example by operating a large number of restaurants, sports shops and a
sports shops and a ski school.
Téléverbier is the backbone of Verbier's tourism offering, and both the resort and the municipality depend on tourism for their livelihood.
and the municipality depend on tourism for their livelihood. In these circumstances, is it wise to entrust a foreign company with
pursuing its own objectives, the task of exploiting what has made the resort so successful and renowned?
reputation of the resort? Is there not a risk that sooner or later there will be conflicts of interest
between the ski lift operator on the one hand, and the municipality and its residents,
and secondary residents?

Estimated purchase price of Téléverbier SA

Vail Resorts bought the Crans Montana ski lift company for almost 9 x
the anticipated EBITDA in 5 years. Vail Resorts now has a market capitalisation of CHF
7.4 billion, compared with EBITDA of CHF 725 million in the 2022-23 financial year, i.e. a multiple
of 10. By way of comparison, Téléverbier's capitalisation is CHF 64 million and EBITDA
in the 2021-2022 financial year of CHF 21.7 million, excluding state aid due to covid; hence a
multiple of nearly 3x. With a valuation multiple more than three times that of Téléverbier
than Téléverbier's, Vail Resorts should be prepared to offer up to 3x Téléverbier's current market value.
Téléverbier, i.e. an amount of almost CHF 200 million.

Future ownership of Téléverbier

Perhaps Christian Burrus and his family will have the courtesy to request an offer from the municipality
once Vail Resorts has submitted its offer. As a first step, the municipality could
acquire this package of shares and, at the same time, launch a regulatory takeover bid. At
25.86% of the shares already held by the commune and the bourgeoisie, Val de Bagnes should therefore
Val de Bagnes to raise around CHF 150 million. The Commune has the means to carry out
such an operation. However, it will only do so if it has the assurance of being able to
resell all, or a large proportion, of the shares acquired to private individuals.
To this end, it is now necessary to find residents willing to invest in the purchase of Téléverbier shares.
Téléverbier shares. Given the value of the resort's real estate holdings, estimated at CHF 10 to 12 billion, this should be a gamble worth taking. We therefore imagine that residents, in particular
second homes worth several million, might be prepared to invest a sum of
willing to invest CHF 1 to 3 million for emotional reasons, but also because of their attachment to Verbier,
attachment to Verbier and, at the same time, to protect the value of their property.
property assets. In spirit, such an investment is more akin to patronage than to
a financial investment designed to provide a return.


Some of us believe that Téléverbier SA should remain in "local hands". And
first, we are trying to identify residents who are interested in participating in such a rescue.
rescue. Our primary goal is to raise the sum of CHF 150 million with the help of a hundred or so people.
hundred people. Once we've identified a circle of potential investors, we'll then need to define a modus operandi.
then define a modus operandi with the municipality and, at the same time, prepare a shareholders' agreement.
shareholder agreement. Time is of the essence!
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Sounds a bit NIMBY/zenophobic in a way. "We don't want professional corporations from the US; we prefer a bunch of wealthy not-actually-locals who have 2nd homes here and will never agree on anything for the next 100 years to be in control of our ski lifts!"
Sounds a bit NIMBY/zenophobic in a way. "We don't want professional corporations from the US;
Or maybe they've been reading the omnipresent "F-Vail" sentiments about how they've been running many of their stateside acquisitions?
I'm inclined to agree with James. The Euros are horrified by our day ticket prices, and of course Vail is the highest visibility promoter of that trend.

ex-pat Bob Mazarei grew up in SoCal, has lived in Le Chable below Verbier for decades. He's at far right at Croix de Coeur lunch in April 2022:

Here's his recent Facebook post:
I live in Le Châble.
We have World Class skiing, the Best in the World.
Those Vail pos’s Salivate to buy here. Dying to buy here.
But, it was…
Shut down. As they should be.
Everyone has seen; see’s now in Real Internet-Time, how the Epic/Ikon N American model has crapped on…
—> Skier Experience.
Both Crans-Montana, and Andermatt involved one Foreign Investor: in way over his head.
Without real knowledge of buying and running an Alps ski area.
Prime Target for the Vail Sharks. The two dudes just tapped-out. Wanted out.
—> I’m hoping…
Everyone else in Switzerland, in Europe…
tells Vail Corp and their ilk…
—> Fvck Off. Not interested. We care about skiing…
Unlike you Epic/Ikon douchebags corporations.