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Deal announced to merge Big Sky, Moonlight Basin

Thursday - 8/15/2013, 4:28pm  ET

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) -- The owners of Big Sky Resort and the Yellowstone Club in southwestern Montana are planning to buy Moonlight Basin with the aim of creating a giant resort of more than 5,700 skiable acres north of Yellowstone National Park.

The deal would combine Big Sky's and Moonlight Basin's operations for one ski resort on both sides of Lone Mountain with 23 chairlifts and 10 surface lifts over 4,350 vertical feet, according to the Wednesday announcement by CrossHarbor Capital Partners LLC and Boyne Resorts.

CrossHarbor, the Boston-based investment firm that owns the ultra-exclusive Yellowstone Club, and Boyne Resorts, which owns Big Sky, also recently purchased the nearby Spanish Peaks resort community for $26.1 million.

The companies said they entered into a purchase agreement with a Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. subsidiary to buy Moonlight Basin as "the next step in the creation of one of the largest and most compelling mountain resort experiences in North America."

Future development of the three resorts will be coordinated for economic stability and growth, while promoting stewardship and environmental sensitivity, according to the statement from the two companies.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close in the next several weeks, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported in a story published Thursday (http://bit.ly/1cEcJkG ).

CrossHarbor spokesman Greg Hitt declined to provide further details about the deal.

Lehman Brothers bought Moonlight Basin in 2012, three years after the resort filed for bankruptcy when the New York-based bank foreclosed on an outstanding $170 million loan. The resort had put up its lodge, spa, golf course and other assets as collateral against the loan.

Lehman Brothers turned over management of the resort to Alvarez & Marshal, a firm that oversees its real estate holdings, with the understanding that it would continue searching for a buyer.

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Information from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com


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