Fox and Davis Group Sell 50% of Aspen Skiing

Times Staff Writer

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. and a group that includes Marvin Davis, who owns Fox with Australian publisher Rupert Murdoch, have sold 50% of Aspen Skiing Co. to the powerful Crown family of Chicago for an undisclosed price.

Holdings of the Crown family include 23% of General Dynamics, a major military contractor. The family also holds major stakes in other corporations, as well as widespread real estate interests.

The Aspen firm operates four ski areas in Colorado. Since 1983, it has been one of two major resort operations jointly owned by the Hollywood movie studio and Miller-Klutznick-Davis-Gray Co., in which Davis is a principal. The other is Pebble Beach Co., which owns a golf course and a 3,700-acre land development on California’s Monterey Peninsula.


The transaction, completed last Monday, was announced by Thomas J. Klutznick of Chicago, co-managing partner of Miller-Klutznick-Davis-Gray, according to a press release sent out by Fox.

Undisclosed Price

Klutznick did not respond to a telephone call from The Times on Thursday. Charles Goodman, a Crown family representative in Chicago, said “we prefer not to say” what the purchase price was.

Fox did not comment on the reason for the sale of half of the Aspen interest. However, there had been industry rumors for months that the loss-plagued movie studio had put both Aspen and Pebble Beach on the block.

Miller-Klutznick-Davis-Gray Co. acquired 50% of Aspen and Pebble Beach and of Fox’s 63-acre studio here in November, 1983--along with land in Denver and New Orleans--from Fox’s earlier partner, Aetna Life & Casualty.

The net value of that transaction was put at $171 million by Aetna. The Hartford, Conn.-based firm paid Fox $183.2 million in September, 1981, for 50% of Aspen, Pebble Beach and the studio lot, along with 50% holdings in Coca-Cola Bottling Midwest and theaters in Australia and New Zealand.

Fox and Aetna later sold the bottling firm for $70 million and the theaters for $36.8 million.


Prominent members of the Crown family are Henry Crown, who became 89 last month and who once bought the Empire State Building, and his son, Lester Crown. The father was a founder along with his brothers of Material Service Corp., a building supply company.

The family obtained a controlling stake in General Dynamics in a 1959 merger of Material Service into the St. Louis-based aircraft manufacturer.