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Kinzel says Cedar Fair headquarters to stay

Tom Jackson • Mar 7, 2010 at 8:32 PM


He’s still the boss, and Sandusky will remain the headquarters for the Cedar Fair’s amusement and water parks, Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel said.

While Cedar Fair’s ownership is about to change, many factors will stay the same. Kinzel said he is contracted to stay on as CEO and will have an option to extend his contract if he and the new owners of the company reach an agreement for an extension.

“If I had to guess, it would probably be in March of 2013 my contract would be up,” he told the Register in an exclusive interview Thursday.

Kinzel will serve as chairman of the new board of directors assembled by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management, if the deal worked out with the investment firm gets final approval. Apollo has agreed

Cedar Fair’s headquarters will remain in Sandusky.

“We’re just a small spoke in their big wheel,” Kinzel said. “This is my home, and this is the home of Cedar Fair.”

On Dec. 16, Cedar Fair, the parent company of Cedar Point, announced it reached an agreement with Apollo. The New York company owns many other companies, including AMC Entertainment, Harrah’s and Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Cedar Fair unitholders will be paid $11.50 for each unit. The deal is valued at about $2.4 billion, including the refinancing of about $1.6 billion in debt. It’s expected to be finalized by spring 2010.

The agreement in place gives Cedar Fair 40 days during which it may consider proposals from other companies.

By Dec. 17, the first batch of documents on the agreement were posted on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Web site.

Kinzel said there would be no major cuts or staffing changes because Cedar Fair already chopped its payroll and expenses to cope with the downturn in the economy.

Employee benefits won’t change either, he said.

Apollo will advise on financial matters but will leave daily operations in the hands of Kinzel and his current executive team.

The company said the merger hinges on acceptance by holders of two-thirds of Cedar Fair’s outstanding units, regulatory approval and other conditions. Kinzel said unitholders will get a letter before the vote detailing specifics of the proposed transaction before the vote.

Kinzel and Peter Crage, Cedar Fair’s corporate vice president of finance and chief financial officer, both said they believe people who own Cedar Fair’s units will support the agreement once they learn more about it.

Cedar Fair was in talks with Apollo “for some time.”

“Apollo approached us,” Kinzel said. “We did not approach them.”

Here's what commenters had to say:

Costanza wrote on Dec 19, 2009 8:25 AM:

" Can't imagine Apollo would be dumb enough to keep Kinzel on in any capacity. He was directly responsible for the fall of Cedar Fair. It had nothing to do with economy. It was all bad decisions that trail back 6 years that casused the collapse of Cedar Fair. And he is still making stuuppid decisions. Taking a dud ride from one park to another? Why would you do that? He just threw away a couple million to move this ride for what? There was not ROI on this one. But again, the board of directors just sit there like puppets and shake their heads the way Kinzel wants them to and the public intrest is not protected again. A hand picked board of directors leads to hand picked problems and I learned that first hand. I lost 48% of my nest egg. I may have to go back to work in a few years if I cannot find a real stock to invest in. Thanks for the ride down the toilet Kinzel. "

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zzzzwest wrote on Dec 18, 2009 1:06 PM:

" Same old names commenting, same negative comments. "

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Browndog271 wrote on Dec 18, 2009 11:42 AM:

" Hopefully they fire Kinzel he ran the company in the ground and was paid millions, he should work for $1.00 "

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6079 Smith W wrote on Dec 18, 2009 11:27 AM:

" @ goofus:

Valet...better tips? "

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goofus wrote on Dec 18, 2009 10:37 AM:

" Where do I apply for a part time black jack dealer job. "

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6079 Smith W wrote on Dec 18, 2009 7:17 AM:

" Officers of public corps often sell co. stock in order to rebalance their personal financial portfolio; it's called diversification. They must announce it to the SEC before they attempt to sell it.

Keeping all of one's eggs in one basket is very risky. Look at Enron as one example.

Only a financial ignoramus would keep 100% of their retirement money in the stock of the same co. for which they worked. If the co. goes bust, they’d lose their life savings plus their job.

AGM keeping the current mgmt. on the job for the time being is an acceptable business practice. The new owners don’t know the industry or have the business contacts – it falls under the category of ‘good will.’

Perhaps part of the deal was that Cedar Fair’s HQ remain in Sandusky?

AGM isn’t about to pay $700 million and incur $1.6 billion in debt just to destroy the co.

Know this: Six Flags filed for bankruptcy earlier this yr. and they have yet to emerge.

Based on the limited financials that I’ve read, I believe that (FUN) had little choice but to sell or file for bankruptcy.

Since AGM owns Harrah’s, many of you may get your wish and see gaming come to Sandusky.

Think temporary construction jobs and numerous permanent jobs.

Look at the potential positives and not the gloom and doom. "

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lifetimeresident wrote on Dec 18, 2009 12:28 AM:

" D. Anderson on the board unloading stock for two years. look it up. insider transactions. cedarfair.com martha, martha

Sandusky Register, Look it up! "

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myirisheyes wrote on Dec 17, 2009 9:57 PM:

" re:hancrack me up: WOW!!! That is so funny. He does look like MR.Kidwell.Except I think Gene would of had more respect for his fellow employees.

Guess this is part of the reason that the full time employees wont be getting a ham this year. 1st the annual Chhristmas party and know the ham... grinch(s) "

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Parrot wrote on Dec 17, 2009 8:57 PM:

" How can Kinzel say that Cedar Fair will remain in Sandusky unless he has inside knowledge as to the agreement made. I can't imagine Sandusky without Cedar Point. I am truly devasted by the news as most of my life savings are with Cedar Fair. I believed in this company and am sick at the amount of money I will lose. What a spin on numbers. To say $11.50 for each unit is a 28 percent premium over the $9.08 price when trading closed Wednesday simply doesn't show that for years the stock was $25 a share. Wow, what a loss.

Please no condescending, I told you so responses as I simply can't take that. What a loss for those of us who believed. "

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Karl Hungus-Mr. Sandusky wrote on Dec 17, 2009 6:27 PM:

" See this is what most people do not understand. Kinzel is pretty clueless. He has held Cedar Fair back and should have stepped down long before he first said he was going to. His outdated policies and beliefs hindered the company and its stock.

Now for him to make this false promise proves just how clueless he is.

I know that many people out there worship Kinzel like he is some sort of de-facto god, but to be honest he is just a guy that got lucky "

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Costanza wrote on Dec 17, 2009 6:26 PM:

" How the heck does he know where the headquarters will be.....he'll be gone. The new owner will come in and clean up the top 5 jokers. Then they will clean up the Markenting department for obvious reasons. And then they will put in their own finance department. All others will have to prove their worth in order for them to stay. So for Kinzel to make a comment like that reminds me of another comment I can remember...."read my lips".....ha ha ha ha ha ha. "

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real wrote on Dec 17, 2009 5:24 PM:

" Nothing to correct you on, totallyamazed. The new owners can do whatever they think best with their company in order to maximize their profit, including selling it all for scrap iron.

It is their money and their company. "

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totallyamazed wrote on Dec 17, 2009 4:15 PM:

" I didn't read the story (don't have the online version) but his comments concern Cedar Fair before the sale, right? Cause when the new owner takes over it won't necessarily be "Cedar Fair" plus it'll be up to the new owner where they want the headquarters to be.

Someone correct me on this. "

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mark738 wrote on Dec 17, 2009 3:31 PM:

" Sure, Kinzel is happy, he sold all of his stock last Spring. The rest of us believed he would try to get the stock price up for the stockholders. Instead, he let it fall to make the Company more attractive to a potential buyer. Poor management? I think so. "

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goofus wrote on Dec 17, 2009 2:52 PM:

" This picture is going to make the Hufftards and steamers mad, he's reading a Rupert Murdoch paper. "

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hancrack me up wrote on Dec 17, 2009 2:29 PM:

" Are you sure that's not Gene Kidwell? "

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