Knott family not excited about Cedar Fair sale

SANDUSKY The family behind Knott's Berry Farm is trying to decide whether they are ready for a compl
Tom Jackson
Mar 8, 2010

 

SANDUSKY

The family behind Knott's Berry Farm is trying to decide whether they are ready for a complete separation from the historic amusement park the Knotts created and used to run.

When Cedar Fair bought the Buena Vista, Calif., park in 1997, the Knott family acquired 2 million ownership shares in Cedar Fair, ensuring family members still have a stake in the company that runs Knott's Berry Farm.

The planned acquisition of Cedar Fair by Apollo Global Management would sever the family's remaining connection to the park.

"That's our heritage. We worked very, very hard through the years," said Stephen Knott, 68, the grandson of Knott's Berry Farm founder, Walter Knott. "I hate to just think of having a small pot of money and nothing else."

The family has reservations about the pending sale and is trying to decide how to vote, Knott said.

"At this time, I haven't fully decided," Knott said.

Investors who own units of Cedar Fair are being offered $11.50 per unit. Within a few weeks, they'll be asked to vote to approve the merger with Apollo. To go through, the deal must be OK'd by at least two-thirds of unitholders. There are about 55.2 million outstanding units, and thus 55.2 million votes that may be cast.

Knott said he and his mother and his brother own 2 million shares.

"We do have some say in which direction the sale will go," he observed.

He said Cedar Fair has made no special effort so far to reach out to his family. Knott lives in Fullerton, Calif., only 15 minutes away from Knott's Berry Farm.

"That's why I lived in Fullerton," he said. "I was on call 24 hours a day."

Walter Knott helped develop the boysenberry, a berry that combined the raspberry, blackberry and loganberry, and sold berries and berry pies from a roadside stand. The family grew the operation to include a restaurant that sold chicken dinners. Knott then built a ghost town at the site and added rides.

The success of Knott's Berry Farm helped inspire Disneyland, which opened in 1955, and the Knotts and the Disneys became friends.

"Walt Disney came out on several occasions," he said.

Disneyland actually helped Knott's Berry Farm by pulling crowds into the area, and when one theme park ran out of quarters, the other would help.

"Amusement parks need quarters," he explained. "They would run out and we'd send some over, or they would do it for us."

The Knotts like Cedar Fair.

"We think very highly of Cedar Fair," he said. "We enjoyed the relationship that we have had with them. They run parks very similar to us. We had a pretty happy marriage with them."

Knott said he didn't agree, however, with all of the debt Cedar Fair took on in 2006 to acquire the former Paramount theme parks.

"I think this was the downfall of Cedar Fair," he said, noting that the Apollo deal puts the Knott family in an awkward position. "I really don't like the idea of selling to another group."

Click here to read more about the potential Cedar Fair sale

Comments

TT

It took you three weeks to pick a topic and write a single article, and this is it? Zzz...I feel the need to correct you (again): Almost all news comes from OTHER newspapers, i.e., there's never any news in this one.

Anonymous

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tinayak

If newspapers are the gateway to free speech, what words could describe the freedom that runs amok in the digital forum. Letters to the Editor have to be investigated as to authorship and your name and city are listed. The forum here is free in a way that is not only distasteful in content but lacking in actual responsibility of author. I can see no redeeming feature to your allowing such a Mud Puddle to even occupy your space. A better idea would be to have people submit their imput to your office folowing the rules then at the end of the week enter the ones that are sane and offer some degree of form. Just my thoughts -

Blogger

Most of the comments stopped, because Elsebeth was sent to prison!!!!!!!! I don't think they let her blog from there.

Anonymous

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You really need to go play somewhere else when a 15 yr old Michelle writes better blogs than yourself. Maybe go check the restrooms for cleanliness and maybe, just maybe you could come up with something less elementary!!

Anonymous

Son, I thought he was Dudley White's nephew. At least that is what my informant inside the Register building tells me. Turns out that they hired two of the White offspring. Nothing like being given everything too you. According to my sources nobody likes or respects either one of the silver spooners.

TT

It took you three weeks to pick a topic and write a single article, and this is it? Zzz...I feel the need to correct you (again): Almost all news comes from OTHER newspapers, i.e., there's never any news in this one.

Anonymous

If you keep ripping down people's posts they'll go elsewhere! Then wher'll your hits come from?

tinayak

If newspapers are the gateway to free speech, what words could describe the freedom that runs amok in the digital forum. Letters to the Editor have to be investigated as to authorship and your name and city are listed. The forum here is free in a way that is not only distasteful in content but lacking in actual responsibility of author. I can see no redeeming feature to your allowing such a Mud Puddle to even occupy your space. A better idea would be to have people submit their imput to your office folowing the rules then at the end of the week enter the ones that are sane and offer some degree of form. Just my thoughts -

Blogger

Most of the comments stopped, because Elsebeth was sent to prison!!!!!!!! I don't think they let her blog from there.

Anonymous

Come on Nick, after 3 weeks you pick a subject that has a comparison to your previous one. Don't you feel ashamed being the son of one of the Register owners, and daddy paid all that money to send you to college and this is what he gets in return. Amazing how you can sit up right and type with the proverbial gold spoon inserted!!
You really need to go play somewhere else when a 15 yr old Michelle writes better blogs than yourself. Maybe go check the restrooms for cleanliness and maybe, just maybe you could come up with something less elementary!!

Anonymous

Son, I thought he was Dudley White's nephew. At least that is what my informant inside the Register building tells me. Turns out that they hired two of the White offspring. Nothing like being given everything too you. According to my sources nobody likes or respects either one of the silver spooners.