* Deal expected to close by Dec. 1
* Includes more than 100 acres of land adjacent to resort
* KSL plans $50 mln in capital improvements over 3-5 yrs
DETROIT, Nov 23 Private equity firm KSL Capital
Partners has agreed to buy the company that controls the Squaw
Valley USA ski resort that hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.
Terms of the deal, which is expected to close by Dec. 1,
for almost all the shares of the Squaw Valley Development Co
were not disclosed, but KSL said on Tuesday that it plans to
spend more than $50 million over the next three to five years
on capital improvements at the resort.
"Squaw Valley is the birthplace of the modern mountain
resort in the United States," KSL managing director Eric
Resnick said in a statement.
Founded in 1949 by Alexander Cushing, whose family make up
most of the current shareholders, Squaw Valley is a mountain
resort near Lake Tahoe in northern California, offering 4,000
acres and 2,850 vertical feet of skiing and riding spanning six
peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
The deal also includes real estate holdings of more than
100 acres, some undeveloped, adjacent to resort.
KSL, based in Denver, is focused on the travel and leisure
sectors. It has investments in such properties as Western
Athletic Clubs luxury resorts and ClubCorp, one of the largest
owners of private golf and business clubs, and previously
invested in Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Arizona Biltmore Resort &
Spa and other locations.
KSL founders Resnick and Michael Shannon have extensive
backgrounds in the snowsports industry.
Shannon was president at Vail Associates, the predecessor
company to Vail Resorts (MTN.N), while Resnick held a variety
of position at Vail. Both also serve on the boards of the U.S.
Ski & Snowboard Team Foundation and the Vail Valley
Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth, who took the job in August,
will remain, KSL said. Wirth said the planned capital
improvements will focus on beginning and intermediate
operations that cater to families and less experienced skiers
at the resort, which opened for winter operations on Nov. 20.
Squaw Valley resort also will work to develop programs in
conjunction with other KSL properties, Wirth said.
He declined to reveal Squaw Valley's annual revenue, but
said the company is profitable. He said Squaw Valley has
enjoyed double-digit percentage increases in total skier visits
from the 2008-2009 to the 2009-2010 season and season pass
sales up more than 15 percent.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit, editing by Dave