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Jay Peak Auction Set for 11 a.m. Wednesday with 3 Bidders – Here’s How It Will Work
Snow Partners confirms they will not be bidding
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The auction to purchase Jay Peak Resort in Vermont is set for 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Sept. 7, a source with knowledge of the auction process has confirmed to The Storm Skiing Journal. As of 10 p.m. ET, three bidders were expected to participate, the source confirmed, including Pacific Group Resorts, whose $58 million opening bid jump-started the competitive bidding process on Aug. 1.
“We're not surprised Jay Peak is going to auction — this is all part of the process outlined from the beginning,” Pacific Group Resorts Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President Christian Knapp wrote in an email to The Storm Skiing Journal on Tuesday evening. “We remain committed to getting the deal done and would be delighted to add Jay to our family of resorts.”
The identities of the other two bidders remained a mystery, as do the amount of their bids. One major ski industry player confirmed to The Storm that they would not be participating tomorrow: Snow Partners, the operators of the Big Snow American Dream indoor ski area, Mountain Creek, Snowcloud resort operating software, and the Terrain Based Learning system that dozens of U.S. ski resorts employ.
“We aren’t going to give a better bid for Jay tomorrow,” Snow Partners CEO Joe Hession said via email. “We are laser-focused on future Big SNOWs and technology.”
Boyne Resorts CEO Stephen Kircher also confirmed to The Storm that they would not be participating in the auction.
Both Vail and Alterra have confirmed to The Storm in the past that they do not comment on potential acquisitions.
But there is no known requirement that bidders must be existing ski area operators. The court document accompanying Pacific Group Resorts’ original bid stipulated that potential bidders have “the ability to close the sale transaction without delay and by date of the auction” and “any other factors the [court-appointed receiver, Michael Goldberg] may deem relevant.” The bidders, then, could be almost anyone with the resources to purchase Jay Peak, including parties with no current presence the U.S. ski industry.
That same document that carried Pacific Group Resorts’ initial bid also spelled out the bid procedure for tomorrow:
The Auction will be conducted via Zoom or similar video…
The Auction shall be conducted as an “open cry” auction. Bidding will begin at the purchase price stated in the APA [$58 million] with an initial bid increment of $1,750,000 or if higher, highest purchase price stated by one or more Qualified Bids for the Assets. Bidding will subsequently continue in additional minimum increments of … $250,000.00 in cash. The Buyer is not required to participate in the bidding but shall have the right to bid at any time during the Auction.
The Auction shall conclude when the Receiver receives what is determined by Receiver in his sole discretion to be the highest and best offer for the Assets … Subject only to the subsequent approval of the District Court, the Receiver shall have the unfettered discretion to determine the Prevailing Bid and designate a Back-Up Bidder.
And that’s it. By tomorrow afternoon, barring any unforeseen developments, Jay Peak could have a new owner after six-plus years in a strange legal limbo stemming from an EB-5 scandal instigated by the previous owner, Ariel Quiros. The identity of the buyer will set off a new storyline, one defined not by scandal and perseverance, but by actualizing the potential of New England’s snowiest ski resort.
More Jay Peak in The Storm
An examination of Pacific Group Resorts’ bid and what the ski area could look like under their ownership:
A conversation with Jay Peak General Manager Steve Wright (from October 2020):
Why it was such a big deal when the Indy Pass signed Jay Peak - the resort subsequently finished as the coalition’s top redeemer for two consecutive seasons:
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