It will be a horrible mess for the Vancouver Olympics if a commercial dispute is putting the Olympics games in any jeopardy. Canadian Press is reporting in “Intrawest assets seized by lenders, including Olympic ski resort in Whistler” (emphasis added),
Lenders have seized the assets of Intrawest ULC, including the Whistler ski resort that will be home to the Olympic downhill races next month, sparking uncertainty about whether the Games will still be held on the property. A public notice has been posted in newspapers by the company’s lenders, which include Lehman Brothers, saying that an auction to sell the assets will be held on Feb. 19, right in the midst of the Olympics.
CTV “Intrawest lenders to auction off Whistler resort“
Intrawest’s owner, Fortress Investment Group, lost control of the company after missing a large debt payment. Creditors who loaned $1.4 billion to Fortress have now seized control of the company and are attempting to sell of its assets.
News 1130 “Report: Whistler Blackcomb to be sold at auction February 19th“
Dan Doyle, VANOC’s Executive Vice President of Construction, issued a statement this afternoon, saying “We understandably cannot comment on Intrawest’s finances beyond our continued support for their efforts to settle outstanding financial matters. What we can confirm is that Whistler Blackcomb is an important partner in the staging of the 2010 Games and we continue working in very close partnership with them to finalize overall preparations and readiness for the skiing and sliding sport events. We look forward, with them, to welcoming the world in 23 days.”
In this Jan 2, 2010 New York Post article “Hedge-fund fight imperils Olympic ski venue“
Intrawest already is late on a $524 million debt payment, and sources said talks between Fortress and Davidson are at an impasse. A source familiar with the matter said both sides could be waiting for the Canadian government to step in at the last minute and prevent Intrawest from going into receivership ahead of the Feb. 12 start of the Olympics.
From a pure business perspective, it will be interesting to see if either side of this business deal (gone bad) will use the Vancouver Olympics as negotiation bargaining chips? The true losers may be Olympic athletes from around the world and us, the Canadian hosts of the Olympic games.