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Found 9 results

  1. The New York Post is reporting a battle between Apollo Management and shareholders at Great Wolf Lodges: http://www.nypost.co...fsCtXyJVspFQLMK The opening paragraph of the NYPost story, in reference to the recent failed Apollo attempt to take Cedar Fair private, speaks volumes, "Leon Black’s Apollo Global Management must be hoping that history does not repeat itself." Why is Apollo once again at odds with shareholders? Shareholders may not wish to surrender the upside potential at Great Wolf just as the light at the end of the tunnel is coming into focus. The deal discounts any "tax loss credit" advantage--and thus many believe it to be significantly under priced. Many shareholders know the best returns are not necessarily to be found in selling out to private equity funds. Shareholders question sweet-heart deals made to retain and reward current management with bonuses when deals close. What challenges does Apollo face to consummate this deal? The deal calls for fifty percent of the shares to be tendered at the $5.00 offer price or the deal is off (as I understand the documents--keep in mind I am not a lawyer--never even played one on television). This is a high hurdle when approximately 50% of the share float was recently held by institutional investors and many of those institutions insist share have a today value in the $8 to $9 range. Great Wolf shares continue to briskly trade at prices well above the offered tender price--closing Thursday at $5.52 a share. About half of the share float has changed hands since the merger announcement. One must wonder, "who is buying all those shares, and why would they pay more than $5.00 each?" You can pretty well bet the answer is not, "So they can transfer them in a $5.00 tender taking and be rewarded with a fifty-plus cents loss per share." That works out to an annualized loss in the neighborhood of 260%. What if shares are being acquired by the institutions already holding shares? What if a significant number of retail investors decide not to tender shares? Doing the math it seems a strong possibility Apollo may not reach the threshold of 50% required to effect the merger. What does Great Wolf have to say? Bloomberg reports managements stated belief, "the sale would maximize shareholder value." What does Apollo have to say? The NY Post reports, "An Apollo spokesman declined comment." Ah, right. Sounds a lot like the proposed Cedar Fair Apollo marriage.
  2. California's Great America... http://youtu.be/ErtEzkS1haU
  3. Many Luminosity: Ignite the Night details emerge in this story at The Toledo Blade: http://www.toledoblade.com/business/2012/03/13/Details-come-to-light-on-new-park-attraction.html If the Cedar Point Luminosity introduction is successful, CF plans to roll out the experience to all its parks.
  4. Jack Falfas has been awarded $2 million plus by court for removal from previous job at Cedar Fair. The new court order vacates the ruling of the arbitration panel which ordered Falfas returned to his job. The court cites case law which establishes job return orders are not allowed. Stacy Froley is quoted by the Sandusky Register in response to the breaking news. Froley would not comment as to the economic damage CF must ultimately pay Falfas. However, the court did order payment from the time of Falfas departure til the end of his contract term in November 2012. Falfas or CF can appeal the decision. While reported in the Sandusky Register the news has not, as yet, been posted to their website. However, I have called to verify the story with the Register, and requested they post this story. I had the pleasure of having the story read to me over the phone as a verification of the following report: http://geaugalaketoday.freepowerboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2564 Hat tip, and congratulations to, CoasterDad at Geauga Lake Today for web breaking this story. Great catch! UPDATE: The SanduskyRegister.com site should have the full story posted no later than Sunday afternoon. Perhaps earlier.
  5. Gems from today's Analyst presentation in New York: 2012 Distribution will be $1.60, payable in four equal quarterly installments. 2013 Distribution guidance is still somewhat up in the air, however, it is expected to increase. Loan covenants are no longer an issue as FUN has outgrown the covenants and are free to award distributions as they see fit. FUN's goal is to continue increasing distributions across time. Distribution increases will be a function of increasing earnings following the next couple of years spent restoring the distribution to historic levels. Great America Deal--Brian and general council worked to rationalize a 35 year lease extension featuring a generous cash payment to offset disruption costs. Only park located on leased land. Had a great year, but not quite a record year. Water park expansions are profitable and quick. Coaster costs are not, generally, as productive a capital investment. To protect the base coaster investments are often required. Growth projected at 4% based upon industry trends. Yield management borrowed from the hotel industry will assist in achieving the growth. Refreshment of resorts will be a priority in order to maintain and grow the family market that stay on park longer and spend more money. This is a significant departure from Kinzel management. Lights and Fireworks are the method to keep people on park after dark. This is the only method successful in the Theme Park industry to extend stays. Thus you keep the guests for Dinner and increase on park revenues. Price increases at parks are expected to be in the neighborhood of inflation this coming season. Growth will be achieved by increasing earnings from on park sales, cementing the season pass holder relationship, exploring a subscription based model of passes, pre-selling more on park activities in order to increase day of visit spending (such as pre-pay parking and meals), entering partnerships and/or sponsorships, reducing ticketing costs and leakage by eliminating or restricting third party ticketing sales, and growing attendance. Less reliance on revenue sharing will be a hallmark. Revenue enhancements such as FastPass programs will expand after having been tested last season. Yield increases are expected to drop significant sums to the bottom line. The presentation featured graphs identifying individual park revenues/profitability and thus has increased transparency to a great extent. New measurement and evaluation metrics will be imported from the broader hospitality industry including ADR and yield management practices. Best practices will be implemented from the cruise industry. Best practices will be shared across the system from the individual parks. Incremental tuck-in acquisition opportunities will continue to potentially play a role in growth. However, at this time no specific acquisitions are under active consideration. Mr. Ouimett expressed an interest in the write-up of Carnival Cruise Line by one of the analysts. Ouimett stated "That is a lesson in do the right thing." This suggests Ouimett will invest the proper funds in maintenance and safety training. Capital investments in new attractions are expected to remain at the 9% of revenue peg. Maintenance investments/costs are also expected to remain in the 9% of revenue range. Sorry if this post is a bit disjointed—I have written it on the fly as the conference was taking place.
  6. Today Cedar Fair announces the appointment of a new member Mr. Tom Klein to the Board. Klein was identified as a potential candidate by Korn/Ferry in a national search and is identified as an independent board member. Mr. Klein has an extensive background in hospitality related businesses as well as technology. He has quite a bit of experience in distribution channel maximization. Mr. Klein has an impressive career at Sabre Holdings. Here is the link to the Cedar Fair Press Release: http://www.cedarfair.com/ir/press_releases/index.cfm?current_root=15&mode=story&story_id=337 That Cedar Fair has selected as an independent board member a person with such extensive background in technology suggests a complete make-over in the marketing, staffing, distribution, purchasing, and guest relations will continue to blossom. It looks to me to be a great choice and addition to the Cedar Fair board.
  7. Cedar Fair will see it's largest unitholder reduce its position over the next couple of years. Q Investments plans to sell 3 million of its 10 million unit holdings, subject to certain conditions and market realities, according to filings with the SEC. For a fuller story please see: http://www.toledoblade.com/State/2011/12/14/Mutual-fund-to-sharply-cut-holdings-in-Cedar-Fair.html
  8. Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingom is reported to be the next recipient of a "Dinosaurs Alive!" attraction, to open in 2012: http://southwhitehall.patch.com/article ... osaur-park Interesting to note Dorney Park is adding this exhibit, in part, to qualify for student field trips and school visits. This could help account for why Cedar Fair is adding this attraction at so many locations. The news of this addition came about due to zoning issues being taken up by the South Whitehall township commissioners.
  9. For an example of how Cedar Fair missed an excellent opportunity to expand the Nickelodeon license it received in the purchase of the Paramount Parks franchise, please this excellent article by Thomas Lee in today's Star Tribune: http://www.startribune.com/blogs/130570388.html The article examines how the Nickelodeon characters have new fresh life and the limitations of the Camp Snoopy concept. Recall Mr. Kinzel saw no value in the Nickelodeon license and let it expire. The Mall of America attributes much of the 9.4% gain in total mall sales to the Nickelodeon Universe which replaced Camp Snoopy, a Cedar Fair property. It is doubtful incoming CEO, and current president, Matt Ouimet would have made the same blunder as Kinzel in letting these valuable brands slip through the fingers of Cedar Fair. The Star Trek license, which was part of the Paramount acquisition, was also terminated by Mr. Kinzel. Penny wise, and pound foolish.
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