Vail Resorts (VR) has entered into an agreement to purchase a majority stake in Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG from Andermatt Swiss Alps AG (ASA). Andermatt-Sedrun is a destination ski resort in central Switzerland, located less than 90 minutes from major metropolitan areas Zurich, Lucerne, and Lugano, Switzerland, and about two hours from Milan, Italy.
It will be the first European ski resort that VR will own and operate. The transaction is expected to close prior to the 2022-23 winter season, subject to certain third-party consents.
VR is acquiring a 55-percent ownership stake in Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG, which controls and operates all of the resort’s mountain and ski-related assets, including lifts, most of the restaurants, and a ski school operation. ASA will retain a 40-percent ownership stake in Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG, with a group of existing shareholders comprising the remaining 5-percent ownership.
VR will assume operating and marketing responsibility for Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG, with ASA and local stakeholders continuing as members of the board of directors. A representative of Vail Resorts will assume the chair of the board of directors of Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG, and ASA will appoint the vice chair.
VR’s CHF 149 million (more than $160 million) investment is comprised of a CHF 110 million investment into Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG for use in on-mountain capital investments such as lift and snowmaking upgrades, as well as on-mountain dining improvements, and CHF 39 million, which will be paid to ASA and fully reinvested into real estate developments in the base area.
Andermatt-Sedrun has undergone significant development in recent years. Since originally investing in the resort in 2007, ASA’s majority shareholder, Egyptian billionaire Samih Sawiris, has invested more than CHF 1.3 billion (nearly $1.4 billion) into the surrounding base area—including the development of high-end lodging, a concert hall, an 18-hole championship golf course, and three Michelin start restaurants—and more than CHF 150 million into the ski resort.
“The extensive investments that ASA and the Sawiris family have made in both the base area and the mountain have created a high-end experience with significant capacity for growth from guests from Switzerland, the United Kingdom, other parts of Europe and around the world,” said VR CEO Kirsten Lynch. “We plan to rely heavily on, and learn from, our partners, community members and the Andermatt-Sedrun team as we gain experience and understanding of the resort, its guests and operations.”
VR and ASA plan to retain all employees and the existing operational infrastructure. VR “will selectively incorporate areas of expertise from its business strategy, including enhancements to data-driven marketing and analytics capabilities, accessibility with the Epic Pass product lineup, and best practice sharing from its portfolio of operations,” the company said in a press release.
Subject to the timing of closing, VR plans to include unlimited and unrestricted access to Andermatt-Sedrun on the 2022-23 Epic Pass. Epic Day Pass holders with All Resorts Access will be able to use any of their days at Andermatt, and Epic Local Pass holders will receive five days of unrestricted access to the resort.
The SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun has about 75 miles of skiable terrain and a top elevation of more than 9,800 feet across the mountains of Andermatt, Sedrun, and Gemsstock, with connected access to Disentis, which is owned independently.
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