The Web is crackling with reports of impending foreclosure and auction involving resort giant Intrawest's 10 properties, including Whistler Blackcomb, venue for most of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.
Not so fast, says Intrawest.
"There have been inaccurate and misleading media reports surrounding Intrawest today. Fortress Investment Group continues to own and control Intrawest and all of its properties. Serious discussions with Intrawest's lenders are ongoing regarding refinancing and the Company continues to operate 'business as usual' at all of its resort properties. Intrawest is looking forward to the success of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games," the company said in a statement released this afternoon.
Stories reported widely across Canadian and U.S. news outlets reported lenders holding $1.4 billion in notes from Intrawest's owner, Fortress, have started foreclosure proceedings that could result in an auction of the company's properties in the middle of the Olympics.
The 2010 Vancouver Olympics are to run at Whistler Blackcomb, an Intrawest resort, Feb. 12 to 28. The auction is advertised to take place Feb. 19.
The Globe and Mail of Toronto reported that Fortress failed to make a scheduled interest payment to various lenders, including Lehman Brothers and Davidson Kempner.
The newspaper reported that the lenders notified Intrawest Jan. 8 of their intention to foreclose, and that an advertisement appeared this week notifying potential bidders of the auction Feb. 19.
"Each qualified bidder must be a financial institution or other entity that has the financial wherewithal to purchase the membership interests in immediately available funds on the closing date," the notice is reported to have said.
Intrawest and its CEO Bill Jensen have a knack for pulling rabbits out of hats, so stay tuned on this one.