Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Great Wolf Resorts Sold to Apollo Global Management

Remember the investment firm that was this close to buying out Cedar Fair, taking the company into the private sector in 2010?  Well it may have taken some time but Apollo Global Management has got its foot in the door buy agreeing to purchase the chain of Great Wolf Resorts.

Great Wolf owns and operates 11 different combination indoor water park resort hotels across the nation, including one with our friends up in Canada.  The operator has been posting losses for some time now, making them a prime target for a buyout.  The company initially went public in 2004 at $17 a share, and has agreed to let Apollo buy for $5 a share, leading to some rather dissatisfied investors.

It's been a rough road for Great Wolf since the start, and they never seemed to be able to make much financial sense out of their operations.  What seemed like a gigantic booming market at one point, the indoor water park industry seems to have cooled considerably.

Take for instance Cedar Fair, who built an indoor water park on property at Cedar Point.  Rumors swirled of other park locations for them to be built at, but none ever were.  Probably not a coincidence after seeing the results of their investment.

I wonder what changes will come now that the chain will be owned privately, meaning what will it take to make these resorts profitable?  Since there are many of them out there one would think it is possible!