Large Cedar Fair Shareholder Blasts Apollo Buyout Offer

NEW YORK (Reuters) – One of the largest shareholders of theme park operator Cedar Fair (FUN.N) plans to vote against the $2.4 billion takeover by private equity firm Apollo Management, saying the price is too low.

The deal to buy the Ohio-based amusement and water park firm was notable for being one of the few leveraged buyouts of the year, but has since run into problems as shareholders vent about the price.

The $11.50-a-share offer made in December is not indicative of the true value of the company, said shareholder Q Funding III, L.P, which owns 9.8 percent of the outstanding units of Cedar Fair. The offer represents a 7-percent discount to the current price of $12.30 on the New York Stock Exchange.

“It does not makes sense to vote for the deal and effectively sell at $11.50 when a holder can sell in the market for a higher price,” Q Funding said in a statement on Friday.

Texas-based Q Funding believes other large holders intend to vote against the deal and said it urged all shareholders to do the same.

On Thursday, a shareholder sued the management of Cedar Fair for agreeing to sell the company too cheaply to Apollo Management and asked a judge to block the deal, according to court documents.

The lawsuit was brought by Ruth Walton, who owns 30,000 units, on behalf of all public holders of Cedar Fair units. It was filed on Wednesday in Delaware’s Chancery Court against the board of Cedar Fair Management Inc, Cedar Fair’s general partner.

By Megan Davies