updated 8/11/2006 9:37:07 AM ET 2006-08-11T13:37:07

Canadian resort operator Intrawest Corp. said Friday it has agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Fortress Investment Group LLC for $35 per share in cash, or a total of $2.8 billion.

The offer price represents a 32 percent premium over Intrawest's Thursday closing price of $26.51 on the New York Stock Exchange. Its shares rose $7.49, or 28.3 percent, to $34 in premarket activity.

Intrawest, whose properties include luxury safari operator Abercrombie & Kent and the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort in British Columbia, said Fortress offered the best option for shareholders.

The company hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to review its strategic options in February.

The acquisition requires the approval of regulators and two-thirds of votes cast by Intrawest shareholders. The deal has the backing of Intrawest's board of directors and is expected to close in October, pending receipt of shareholder and court approval.

Fortress was founded in 1998 and manages about $23 billion in capital.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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