Vail Resorts (MTN), A Significant Contributor in Baron Asset Fund’s Q4 Portfolio

Baron Funds, an investment management firm, published its fourth quarter 2020 “Baron Asset Fund” investor letter – a copy of which can be downloaded here. A return of 15.14% was recorded by its Retail Shares, and 15.21% by its Institutional Shares in the fourth quarter of 2020, both below its Russell Midcap Growth Benchmark that delivered a 19.02% return but above its S&P 500 index that was up by 12.15% in the same period. You can view the fund’s top 5 holdings to have a peek at their top bets for 2021.

Baron Funds, in their Q4 2020 investor letter, mentioned Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN) and emphasized their views on the company. Vail Resorts, Inc. is a Broomfield, Colorado based mountain resort company that currently has a $12.6 billion market capitalization. Since the beginning of the year, MTN delivered a 12.38% return, impressively extending its 12-month gains to 121.09%. As of March 22, 2021, the stock closed at $313.49 per share.

Here is what Baron Funds has to say about Vail Resorts, Inc. in their Q4 2020 investor letter:

“Consumer Discretionary investments and lack of exposure to the underperforming Consumer Staples sector contributed the most to relative results. Strength in Consumer Discretionary was partly due to the outperformance of global ski resort operator Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail was a significant contributor, as its ski pass sales rose 20% from last year’s levels despite the pandemic’s impact. Lower exposure to this sector, which failed to keep pace with the broader market during the quarter, also added value.

Shares of Vail Resorts, Inc., a global operator of ski resorts, gained in the quarter on season ski pass sales that increased 20% from last year’s levels, despite the pandemic-related headwind. Robust renewal rates demonstrated the loyalty of Vail’s existing skiers, while first time pass sales demonstrated their potential to accelerate Vail’s future growth. In addition, we believe that the company’s robust balance sheet positions the company well for potential acquisitions of ski resorts that have suffered from the pandemic.”

Our calculations show that Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN) does not belong in our list of the 30 Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds. As of the end of the fourth quarter of 2020, Vail Resorts, Inc. was in 31 hedge fund portfolios, compared to 30 funds in the third quarter. MTN delivered a 15.80% return in the past 3 months.