By Clare Ogilvie
Nearly 100 per cent of Intrawest shareholders have approved the
sale of Whistler-Blackcomb’s parent to New York’s Fortress Investment Group
At a 22-minute meeting Tuesday 99.9 per cent of shareholders
said yes to a deal that will pay them US$35 a share when it closes at the end
of the month. That’s a 32-per cent premium over the stock price before the
proposed sale was announced last month.
The closing of the transaction remains subject to court
approval in Canada as well as satisfaction or waiver of other conditions
specified in the Arrangement Agreement entered into on Aug. 10, 2006, including
approval by the Ministry of Industry under the Investment Canada Act.
Subject to such regulatory approval being obtained, an
application for final court approval is scheduled to be heard by the British
Columbia Supreme Court on Oct. 24, 2006. If court approval is obtained and the
other conditions to closing are satisfied or waived, the transaction is
expected to close on Oct. 25, 2006, after which all Intrawest shareholders will
be entitled to receive US$35 in cash for each Intrawest common share.
The $2.8 billion deal will result in some hefty payouts to top
Intrawest officials, including chairman, CEO and director Joe Houssian, whose
company holdings are valued at $126 million.
He founded Intrawest in 1976 as a residential/commercial real
estate company and has guided its evolution into North America’s largest
mountain resort operator. It has revenues of more than $1.6 billion.
Houssian has not commented on his future with the company under
Fortress. However, Fortress has indicated it would keep Intrawest’s head office
Hugh Smythe, president of mountain operations, stands to get
$7.1 million in the deal.
Intrawest announced earlier this year that it was looking for ways to boost shareholder value after frequent complaints from its largest single shareholder — Connecticut based hedge fund Pirate Capital LLC — that the company’s value was too low because the financial structure was too complicated. Pirate supported the sale.