Fortress Won’t Get Olympics Payment Before Games

Feb 3 2010 | 7:37pm ET

Fortress Investment Group will get paid for the use of one of its ski resorts for the upcoming Winter Olympics. But not until after the games end on Feb. 28.

The organizers of the winter games in Vancouver said they will make good on their “make whole” agreement with Intrawest, the owner of the Whistler Blackcomb Resort that will host the Olympics’ alpine, bobsled, luge and skeleton events. “Make whole” agreements are designed to compensate Olympic venues for lost business during the two-week-long games.

Fortress is reportedly demanded a US$90 million payment from the Canadian government before the Olympics begin, threatening to sue if it doesn't get the money. But the organizing committee, VANOC, says it will pay up, after the games.

The deal with Intrawest “includes a make-whole element that addresses the financial impact on Whistler Blackcomb as a result of staging the games,” VANOC said. “This will only be finally determined well after the games are over.”

Intrawest is awash in debt following Fortress’ leveraged buyout of the company in 2006. Intrawest is in default on more than US$500 million in loan payments, and its creditors are threatening to begin selling off its assets—including Whistler Blackcomb—at an auction during the Olympics.

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