UK-based theme park and attractions group Merlin Entertainments is offloading two Australian ski resorts for £95 million.

Hotham and Falls Creek in Victoria are being acquired by US ski giant Vail Resorts.

The deal means that Vail Resorts will operate three of the largest ski resorts in Australia, including Perisher Ski Resort in New South Wales.

The disposal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be finalised by June.

Net proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, according to Merlin.

CEO Nick Varney said: “We are pleased to reach this agreement with Vail Resorts, which will allow us to focus on our core business of location based entertainment, specifically theme parks and Midway attractions.

“It will see the business transfer to a company with a strong track record in ski resort development, and we wish Vail Resorts and the teams in Australia well.”

Merlin is due to report 2018 financial results on February 28.

Vail Resorts chairman and CEO Rob Katz said: “We are thrilled to welcome the guests and employees of both Falls Creek and Hotham into the Vail Resorts family and further strengthen our position in Australia, which is one of our most important international markets.

“The acquisition of the leading mountain resorts in Victoria is part of our continued strategy to drive season pass sales and build loyalty with guests from around the world.”

tw3