AIG Puts Vermont Ski Resort on the Block

By | May 15, 2009

Bailed-out insurance giant American International Group Inc. says it’s taking offers for Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont.

AIG spokesman Peter Tulupman confirmed that the resort went up for sale Wednesday but gave few other details.

He said AIG, which is divesting some of its non-core assets, has received unsolicited queries from qualified buyers. He wouldn’t name them, say how many or name the asking price.

AIG, the subject of a federal government bailout last year, said last fall it would try to sell off assets that aren’t part of its core insurance business.

The resort includes Stowe Mountain Lodge, mountain operations and permits for future real estate development.

In recent years, AIG has invested millions in the resort, building a new lodge at the base of Spruce Peak.

All that investment has people in the ski village unfazed by the prospect of a sale, with many believing that whoever the buyer is, they won’t walk away from the development.

“Obviously, they have a master plan and a vision that has substantially been invested in, and we believe would behoove them to follow through on,” said Town Manager Charles Safford. “But how they proceed remains to be seen. There’s value in that master plan.

“Stowe’s the pre-eminent ski area of the East and a year-round resort with a lot to offer, with golf courses, slides, cross-country skiing, nature. People think about the downhill skiing, but it’s a multidimensional resort,” Safford said.

By way of comparison, Killington and sister resort Pico in Killington sold for about $85 million two years ago.

“There’ll be a limited number of players, people with ski area management experience and the money,” said Ken Biedermann, general manager of the Green Mountain Inn, in the village of Stowe.

Everyone around Stowe figured that AIG would eventually sell it, given the company’s situation, he said.

“Whenever you lose the deep pockets behind you, it’s concerning,” Biedermann said.

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