KSL Raises Bid for Great Wolf

Private equity firm KSL Corp. raised its bid for Great Wolf Resorts by 12% to $234 million as it works to top rival buyout group Apollo Global Management, Reuters reported. Great Wolf, North America’s largest operator of indoor water parks, said in a statement that it had received an unsolicited letter from KSL proposing to buy the company for $7 a share in cash. That bid came in reaction to the company’s latest agreement to sell itself to Apollo for $6.75 a share, or $225.7 million. Apollo originally struck a deal in March to buy Great Wolf for $5 a share, or around $165 million.

 

(Reuters) – Private equity firm KSL Corp raised its bid for Great Wolf Resorts Inc by 12 percent to $234 million as it works to top rival buyout group Apollo Global Management in their battle to acquire North America’s largest operator of indoor water parks.

 

Great Wolf said in a statement that it had received an unsolicited letter from KSL proposing to buy the company for $7 a share in cash. That bid came in reaction to the company’s latest agreement to sell itself to Apollo for $6.75 a share, or $225.7 million.

 

Apollo originally struck a deal in March to buy Great Wolf for $5 a share, or around $165 million. But KSL, which focuses on travel and leisure businesses, made an unsolicited bid of $6.25 a share for the water park company last week, prompting larger rival Apollo to strike a new, 35 percent higher deal on Friday.

 

Great Wolf’s popularity as a drive-to family vacation destination has shielded it from slow economic growth and relatively weak consumer confidence, making it a hot property in the eyes of buyout firms looking for assets with strong cash flows.

 

In 2011, its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization close to doubled year-on-year to $83 million.

 

As part of its arrangement with Apollo, Great Wolf could have to pay up to $9 million for a breakup fee and expenses should it walk away from the deal.

 

Shares in Great Wolf closed at $6.58 on the Nasdaq on Thursday. (Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Dale Hudson)

 

 

 

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