DENVER-Vail Resorts may be sold as early as this week, sources tell GlobeSt.com. Considered North America’s premiere ski mountain company, the resort would sell for more than $1 billion.

Vail’s holdings in Colorado include Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone. It also owns Heavenly in Nevada and California and the Grand Teton Lodge Co. in Jackson, WY. It also is the majority owner of RockResorts, which gives it a number of luxury resort hotels across the US.

The two finalists to buy it are Henry Kravis, senior partner of Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts in New York City, and Mike Shannon, the former president of Vail Associates, when the resort was owned by George Gillett, who lost the company in a bankruptcy. Sources say it is likely Kravis and Shannon are looking to buy the resort more as individuals than as part of KKR.

Kravis has owned a home in Vail since at least the 1980s. However, one source tells GlobeSt.com Kravis is seldom seen at the resort. KKR declined to comment.

The other company looking to buy Vail Resorts is Texas Pacific, headed by David Bonderman. That company has more than $13 billion in assets under management and its holdings include Burger King, Continental Airlines and the J.Crew Group. The purchase price would include assuming Vail Resort’s almost $700 million in debt. Texas Pacific also declined to comment.

Jerry Jones, a mountain developer who formerly was the president of Beaver Creek, says he thinks the Shannon-Kravis group makes the most sense. Texas Pacific doesn’t know the resort business like Shannon does, Jones says. However, he notes that New York City-based Apollo Capital Management, Vail Resorts’ owner, has to sell it to the highest bidder.

Several sources say they think whoever buys it will sell non-core holdings, such as out-of-state hotels, although Jones says he is not sure that is the best strategy.

“The thing about the ski industry is that it is seasonal and it depends upon the whims of Mother Nature,” one source tells GlobeSt.com. “It’s labor intensive and capital intensive and your demographics are going the wrong way. What more can you ask for? But that all said, Vail is the premiere ski resort in North America. If you own it, you own the best ski resort in North America.”

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