Apollo says it has the interests of Cedar Fair customers at heart

SANDUSKY The wealthy New York private equity company planning to buy Cedar Fair wants everyone to kn
Tom Jackson
Mar 8, 2010

SANDUSKY

The wealthy New York private equity company planning to buy Cedar Fair wants everyone to know it loves roller coasters.

Apollo Management, which has said almost nothing publicly about its offer to acquire Cedar Fair, issued a statement Monday assuring customers at Cedar Point and other Cedar Fair amusement parks that it respects the parks.

“We look forward to working closely with Cedar Fair’s talented management team and employees to foster continued growth and enhance the company’s reputation as a leading operator of family amusement parks,” the company said in its two-sentence statement. “Apollo is firmly committed to Cedar Fair’s amusement parks and making them growth engines for their communities while preserving each park’s unique local heritage.”

The company’s spokeswoman had nothing to add, but Stacy Frole, Cedar Fair’s director of investor relations, noted Monday that the statement fits with earlier promises Apollo would concentrate on refinancing Cedar Fair’s debt but leave Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel and his management team in charge of running the amusement park chain.

“Obviously, we have a lot of local customers who appreciate the uniqueness of our own home park,” Frole said.

Frole also provided additional information on Cedar Fair’s “go shop” period, the 40-day period in which Cedar Fair is allowed to seek other offers to find out if unitholders can obtain a better deal. The go-shop period expires Jan. 25.

Cedar Fair hasn’t commented on its discussions with other possible suitors, but Frole said if Cedar Fair received a better offer, it would make that offer public.

“If we were to receive a superior proposal, we would make that announcement,” Frole said.

Frole said Cedar Fair’s financial advisors, Rothschild Inc. and Guggenheim Securities, are in charge of contacting other companies about a possible offer.

“We wouldn’t comment on who we have spoken to,” she said.

Cedar Fair’s units have traded for the last few days above the $11.50 Apollo has offered to unitholders. It closed Monday at $11.98 per unit.