DENVER — The company behind the Mont Tremblant and Blue Mountain ski resorts has signed an agreement to be acquired in a friendly deal valued at US$1.5 billion, including debt.

Intrawest Resorts Holdings Inc. said Monday that U.S. ski resort company Aspen Skiing Co. and private equity firm KSL Capital Partners have agreed to pay US$23.75 per share in cash.

Intrawest CEO Thomas Marano says the offer is a 40 per cent premium over where the company’s shares were before a report in January speculating that it was exploring a potential sale. Intrawest shares closed at US$25.30 on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

In addition to Tremblant and Blue Mountain, Intrawest has Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado, Snowshoe in West Virginia and Stratton in Vermont.

It also has an adventure travel business including heli-skiing company Canadian Mountain Holidays and a real estate business.

Aspen Skiing Co. owns and operates four mountains: Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. It also has hotels, retail and rental operations.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the third quarter of this year and is subject to certain closing conditions including regulatory approvals.

The Canadian Press