Apollo Global Management Buys Cedar Fair for $2.4 Billion, $635 Million in Cash In a move that I didn’t see coming, Cedar Fair was purchased today by equity firm Apollo Global Management for $635 million in cash. Other reports (like this article from The Street) say the deal is for $2.4 billion in total. It’s reminiscent of Blackstone’s purchase of Busch Gardens a few months ago. Cedar Fair operates 11 amusement parks in the United States including: Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio Kings Island near Cincinnati. California’s Great America in Santa Clara, Calif. Canada’s Wonderland near Toronto. Kings Dominion near Richmond, Va. Carowinds in Charlotte, N.C. Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Mo. Valleyfair near Minneapolis. Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif. Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pa. Michigan’s Adventure in Muskegon, Mich. Typically, you think of company’s getting bought when they’re in trouble, but that’s not always the case. I don’t follow the business end of the theme park industry that closely, but I only recall a few signs of any trouble at Cedar Fair. There was news of Minnesota-based amusement park Valleyfair! possibly being for sale last spring and rumors that California’s Great America might be sold. This New York Times article states that profits were down slightly in 2009 (with more operating days), attendance was down, and those who visited spent less. While none of this is good news, in the current economy I don’t think it’s cause alone for an acquisition. Again, I don’t follow the business side of the industry as much so maybe I was out of the loop on this one. Cedar Fair shares rose 23 percent today after news of the sale to Apollo Global Management. Here’s a statement from Cedar Fair’s CEO Dick Kinzel: “We have considered a wide range of strategic alternatives over the past several years. After considering these strategic alternatives, we have concluded that the transaction with Apollo is in the best interest of our unit holders,” said Cedar Fair Chairman and CEO Dick Kinzel, in a statement. –TheStreet.com If the acquisition is anything like Blackstone’s purchase of Busch, guests shouldn’t expect to see many changes during their visits next year. I assume and I hope that an equity firm like Apollo would recognize Cedar Fair’s long running track record as a successful amusement park operator for many years and not meddle in their management of their well-run parks. What’s Your Take? What do you think of Cedar Fair’s acquisition? Has anyone heard anything about park operations? Leave a comment below. 22 Responses Cedar Fair Bought by Apollo Equity Firm | Theme Park Syndicate - Theme Park News Aggregator December 18, 2009 […] the full article. Also, see more coverage: Sandusky Register | CoasterBuzz | The Coaster Critic’s Blog What do you think of this big news? Leave a comment below. Post Published: 17 December 2009 […] Reply Quil December 18, 2009 while reading through the son of beasts fate unknown post, i noticed someone say that ceadar fair was the worst at maintaining their woodies, i hope that this will be solved whith the purchase. Reply CFC December 18, 2009 CC, please don't don't remove this comment… OMG! Why would Cedar Fair sell their business?!?!?!? Reply Tom December 18, 2009 I wonder if that was a good deal. I mean, I wish…, well i wonder how much cedar fair makes in a year. It might have been a good deal but I think some of their parks make like $300,000,000 a year. Reply Quil December 18, 2009 cedar point probably makes the most. Reply The Coaster Critic December 19, 2009 CFC, I only remove comments if they're way off topic or offensive. Tom, the people who run the park wouldn't have accepted the terms of the acquisition if it wasn't a fair price for the company. Unless they had absolutely no other choice. Quil pointed out that their woodies might be some of the worst maintained. What do you hope that the acquisition brings to Cedar Fair's parks? What do you think that they could improve? Reply Quil December 19, 2009 whow about them making a theme park in New York, and one in Florida too. Reply Schwarz December 19, 2009 A theme park in Charleston SC!!! Just kidding I actually wouldn't like that because it would get rid of the older feel of our town and we already have carowinds. Reply Judy P in Pgh December 19, 2009 I hope they continue to have the platinum pass that can be used at all Cedar Fair parks. Cedar Point gives early ride time (e.g., Raptor) to pass holders on a daily basis, nut just for special events. Do any of the other Cedar Fair parks do this? If not, that is a perk I would like to see the new owners add to more of the parks, either prior to the official opening time or after park closing. (I'm thinking night rides on The Beast!) Reply CFC December 19, 2009 Like Quil said, how about better woodies? I'm almost afraid to go on the ones at Carowinds, and Cedar Point has only one woodie worth mentioning – Mean Streak. Please renew my faith in them, Apollo! Reply Judy P in Pgh December 19, 2009 I'll take Blue Streak over Mean Streak any day! Reply Quil December 20, 2009 isn`t blue streak white? Reply Tom December 20, 2009 Blue streak is a light shade of blue and the track is dark blue. Reply Bob December 21, 2009 Dear Sir's, I want to express how extremely happy I am to hear Cedar Fair has been acquired by an affiliate of Apollo Global. I sincerely hope that they treat their acquisition of Cedar Fair the same way Cedar Fair treated their acquisition of Geauga Lake Amusement Park in Aurora Ohio. Reply Vince January 7, 2010 Bob, I'm not sure if you remember, but Cedar Fair has since closed the Amusment Park portion of Geauga Lake, and only Wildwater Kingdom, the revamped water park, remains at that location. Some rides from that park have been moved from Geauga Lake to other parks (e.g. X-Flight moved to Kings Island and was renamed Firehawk), but some rides (e.g. Raging Wolf Bobs) continue to rot at that location to this day. On topic, hoever, I would like to clarify that this Cedar Fair takeover is not yet a done deal. Several lawsuits have been filed and the Kotts family has noted that they are not happy with the sale. The deal will require a 2/3 majority vote from the stockholders, and by rule, Cedar Fair has to have a "shopping" period where other companies may bid on them. Blackstone Group, the company that bought Busch Entertainment has been thrown into the mix of potential companies that would buy Cedar Fair. Apollo has bid $11.50/share for Cedar Fair (FUN). Currently, FUN is trading at $11.63. CC, great job with the site and reviews, I look forward to seeing all the new reviews this summer! 128 Days until Cedar Point opens! Reply Prof. BAM January 15, 2010 Cedar fair is somewhat unhappy with how much Apollo bought it for. But I heard somewhere that Apollo may have plans to add something BIG to each park. I don't know what it is but, Cedar Point may not get anything if that's the case. Why? I believe that Apollo thinks Cedar Point has too many coasters. If Apollo does do something to each park, I hope it's B&M coasters. Or maybe more Intamin giga-coasters of Strata-coasters. Reply Quil January 16, 2010 Intamin gigacoasters of Stratacoasters? do you mean a stratacoaster whith a gigacoaster layout, beacause that would be cool. pricey though. Reply 2009 Theme Park News Recap | Theme Park Syndicate - Theme Park News Aggregator January 19, 2010 […] acquisitions. Blackstone purchased Busch, Disney bought Marvel, Comcast bought NBC Universal, and Cedar Fair was sold to Apollo. Only time will tell which of the changes will have the largest impact on the theme park […] Reply CFC June 6, 2010 Hey! I don't know for certain, but I've heard from Wikipedia that Merlin Entertainments, the company owning Thorpe Park, Heide-Park, and Alton Towers has purchased all major former Paramount's Parks. This means that Carowinds, Kings Dominion, Kings Island, Great America, and Canada's Wonderland are all now owned by Merlin Entertainments. Plus, I've heard that Carolina Cyclone is getting STAND-UP trains for next year! Can you believe it? Reply Gruff Dan October 31, 2010 That cant be so, KI has been owned by Cedar Fair for years Reply kigirl October 13, 2013 Ok, thatdidnt happen because the ceder fail logo is still on the kings island website. So, is this true? Or am I just blind? Reply kigirl October 13, 2013 Sorry, ceder fair. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.