Sacklers sell off ski resorts and stand to pocket $60 million.
In what appears to be a desperate attempt to not go entirely belly up in the opioid battle, the Sacklers have reportedly sold off 17 ski resorts owned by the family and may attain $60 million in the move. Vail Resorts, a publicly traded operator of ski resorts, recently announced it would acquire Peak Resorts for $11 per share, all cash, which is greater than twice the amount per share closing price.
Ironically, the resorts are mostly positioned in the Northeast and Midwest in areas that have been devastated by the crisis. The Sacklers had an interest in Peak Resorts Inc., which owned the ski areas. The sale was finalized last week and comes just after Purdue filed for bankruptcy in New York.
In a tentative settlement that has been proposed, Purdue Pharma would morph into a “public benefit trust” that would continue selling opioids but use its profits for lawsuit settlements rather than being able to pocket the proceeds. The Sackler family would also have to give up control of the company and contribute at least $3 billion personally toward the settlement.
The “framework avoids wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and years on protracted litigation,” Steve Miller, chairman of Purdue’s board of directors, said, “and instead will provide billions of dollars and critical resources to communities across the country trying to cope with the opioid crisis.”
Two dozen states have signed on to the settlement plan along with attorneys who represent the vast majority of the 2,000-plus local governments suing the company. However, there are still many skeptics believing the family will get off too easily that are holding out for a better deal. The ski resort sale may just serve to validate this hunch.
Purdue has not admitted to any wrongdoing, and several states plan to object to the settlement in bankruptcy court and to continue litigation in other courts against members of the Sackler family directly with the hopes that they will finally admit to having a direct role in the epidemic. They believe the family has already funneled a funds from the firm into shell companies and Swiss bank accounts. A court filing by the New York Attorney General’s Office in September suggested the family used Swiss and other hidden accounts to transfer $1 billion to themselves.
The Sacklers are simply “throwing the carcass of this drug company into bankruptcy,” said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.
The family is worth an estimated $13 billion based primarily on the value of Purdue Pharma and are well-known in the pharmaceutical industry for the production of OxyContin, a highly addictive opioid painkiller. Sources have indicated approximately 80% of Purdue Pharma’s sales came from OxyContin.
Once revered as a philanthropic family donating to museums and other landmarks around the world, most of the Sacklers previously beneficiaries have cut ties completely. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City turned down money from the Sackler family in May of this year and, in July, the Louvre Museum in Paris removed the Sackler name from its Sackler Wing of Oriental Antiquities.