The Bass family interviewed several local and regional law firms before choosing Ballard Spahr to advise it on the July 2014 sale of its controlling interest in the Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort in Utah, which it has solely owned since the early 1970s, to an investment arm of Ian Cumming. The family knew the sale involved several complicated issues, and selected the firm for its national reputation in handling complex mergers and acquisitions and real estate matters.
Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort is a world-famous resort primarily known for its powder skiing and snowboarding, but it also is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts and vacationers pursuing hiking, biking, fishing, and sightseeing throughout all seasons. The Snowbird-Alta area began as a mining town after the discovery of silver in Little Cottonwood Canyon in 1869. Nearly 100 years later, Ted Johnson, who had purchased the deed to the Blackjack mining claim at the base of Peruvian Gulch, met Richard D. Bass. Together, they opened Snowbird in 1971. Mr. Johnson sold his interest to the Bass family three years later.
The sale of the resort was an intricate transaction. David R. Rudd, a partner in the firm’s Salt Lake City office, led the team, closing the deal on a tight timeline. There were corporate structuring issues to be resolved, challenging environmental issues due to the existence of several abandoned mine sites and mining claims on the resort, and other complicated real estate issues. Ballard Spahr’s environmental team helped alleviate the buyer’s concerns about environmental liability and draft warranties and indemnities that were acceptable to both parties.
Ballard Spahr attorneys also advised on issues involving mergers and acquisitions, communications, tax, intellectual property, antitrust, and employee benefits matters.
With the sale complete, the Bass and Cumming families are teaming together to further enhance Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort’s amenities and maintain its status as a world-class, year-round destination mountain resort.