Intrawest ULC and owner Fortress Investment Group have won another week to keep looking for a way to satisfy impatient lenders and avoid foreclosure for the resort operator, with Bloomberg reporting that a foreclosure auction that was set for Friday has now been put off to Feb. 26.
Fortress and Intrawest have been in talks with lenders since missing the final payment on a $1.4-billion (U.S.) loan late last year.
The tension is heightened by the fact that one of the big creditors is the estate of bankrupty Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc. Given that Lehman is liquidating, the former bank can't be very generous with time, making it more difficult to find a fix for Fortress and Intrawest.
The timing of the auction -- set for the middle of the Olympics which are being held in part on Intrawest's Whistler hill -- was widely viewed as a pressure tactic and a message to Intrawest and Fortress: Bring us a deal we like, fast.
While the extra week gives breathing room, it still means that Intrawest could face a foreclosure auction two days before the closing ceremony of Vancouver 2010, which is set for Feb. 28.
Intrawest is said to be fighting to hold on to Whistler, it's crown jewel. However the resort may be the most attractive in the company's stable to buyers. As reported in the Globe and Mail, bidders such as Vail Resorts Inc. are lining up for Whistler.
The Bloomberg story is here.
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