Cedar Fair in talks on $4.1 billion takeover

Monday, July 30, 2007 7:11 AM
[I attempted to contribute to the "News" section, but kept getting errors.]

"Theme park operator Cedar Fair is in talks to be taken over by investment firm Destiny Capital Solutions in a $4.1 billion deal, the New York Post reported on its Web site on Monday."

http://www.reuters.com/article/mergersNews/idUSN3034170120070730

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Monday, July 30, 2007 8:25 AM
"It also plans to spend from $500 million to as much as $800 million to upgrade Cedar Fair's amusement parks, water parks and hotels, the paper reported."

*Finally* KI might get a legitimate coaster that makes you think this is the year 2007!!

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Monday, July 30, 2007 8:32 AM
Well, I guess I should start looking for something to invest my money in, if my units get bought out. They say they have plans to invest $500M or even up to $800M to upgrade all the parks and hotels. Without knowing what their plans are, I'm not sure what to think yet. I suppose it could be good, if it brings the parks more up to date technologicaly and in turn makes them a more attractive place to go. But it could go the other way to, like what Six Flags did with Geauga Lake.

The article says Dick and the Gang would still be around, but will they still have the decision making power?
*** Edited 7/30/2007 12:43:41 PM UTC by Jason Hammond***

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Monday, July 30, 2007 8:35 AM
Awesome, a huge chunk of capital spending to improve parks and rides!! Maybe now Geauga Lake will get a couple of quality steel coasters. (Yes, this is sarcasm)

Didn't several situations just prove that huge cap spending doesn't necessarily drive profits?

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Monday, July 30, 2007 8:43 AM
He said $500-800 million. I wouldn't expect it in one year.
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Monday, July 30, 2007 8:47 AM
There is a lot of room for investment at the parks that has nothing to do with new rides. At Cedar Point alone I could identify a TON of improvements. The Breakers Bon Air wing and Main section could use a major overhaul. Soak City is due for expansion. The Boardwalk development is long overdue. These are just a few off the top of my head. Oh, how about running fiber around the park so that the technology can catch up to the 90s?

Geauga Lake could use some major work to turn the park into what Cedar Fair's goal is. The second phase of the waterpark hasn't materialized yet.

I could go on and on. The thing that stands out to me still, though, is the impact all of this has to the typical Cedar Fair employee. Sure, Kinzel and the gang will make out well...but what about all of those folks, many of whom have spent DECADES sweating for the company they love? I hope they are taken care of in all of this.

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Monday, July 30, 2007 8:53 AM

Doug Rowe said:
Awesome, a huge chunk of capital spending to improve parks and rides!! Maybe now Geauga Lake will get a couple of quality steel coasters. (Yes, this is sarcasm)

No, MIA is supposed to get a hyper. (more sarcasm)

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Monday, July 30, 2007 9:27 AM
I still think this is just Kinzel and the gang cashing in on the '00s equivalent of the dot.com boom, private equity. They see an oversupply of investors---all of these private equity firms looking to keep up with the Joneses---and are trying to take advantage of it for themselves and the unit holders.

Pretty much SOP for the folks in Sandusky. Say what you will about CF's willingness to invest in infrastructure, and their propensity to pave everything they can find, but they are shrewd.

As for that 500-800 million investment? Don't hold your breath. Watch what Cerberus does to the UAW after promising to treat all the DCX employees right, and then get back to me on those promises made by private firms. If a public company makes statements, they have some fiduciary responsibility to follow up or explain to investors who bought based on those plans why they changed. A private firm? No such constraints.

Edited to add: Now that I think about it, retaining current management may be in that class of "promise", too.
*** Edited 7/30/2007 1:28:26 PM UTC by Brian Noble***

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Monday, July 30, 2007 9:40 AM
Except that CF's upper management has been busy tuning up new 'golden parachute' bylaws.

Health insurance for life for Mr. Kinzel? Now THAT'S a nice benefit. I'm not saying it's outrageous or uncalled for. But dayum, that's nice. Especially these days...

-'Playa

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Monday, July 30, 2007 9:52 AM
That is outrageous and uncalled for. You mean to tell me the guy hasn't made enough money throughout the years to pay for health insurance once he's without a job?
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Monday, July 30, 2007 9:58 AM
The whole situation is extremely questionable. This destiny capital company is going to pay a 20% premium AND keep current management in place? It doesn't make any sense. The timing of this (the day before Q2 earnings come out) make it look even more suspicious.

By the way, who is this anonymous source who keeps leaking info to the NY Post?

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Monday, July 30, 2007 9:59 AM
What's uncalled for? If you make a lot of straight cash you can't get other benefits as well? It's not like he Enron'd the company or something.

I'll take 20% over current value. That would be a very nice payday for me.

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Monday, July 30, 2007 10:00 AM
Who on EARTH makes enough to pay for it once they retire these days? Really? I mean, with vastly improved imaging techniques, much less invasive cardiac care, much improved stroke therapies and the like, people just don't die like they used to...

We may all be up the creek in a few decades!

-'Playa

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Monday, July 30, 2007 10:36 AM
Making a lot of money is one thing. Life-long benefits that go along with it? That doesn't sit too well with me, that's all. A factory worker lives paycheck to paycheck once he retires but a CEO that made a ton of money during his tenure at a company gets everything taken care of him until he passes away? I really couldn't care less about that being the way it goes, it just bothers me on a personal level. You mean to tell me Dick Kinzel doesn't have an annual salary and stock options that allow him to be set for life once he retires? I find that very hard to believe.
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Monday, July 30, 2007 11:11 AM
Does this Destiny Capital know anything about running amusement parks?

Or will Kinzel and Co. still be running the show?

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Monday, July 30, 2007 11:18 AM
Probably as much as Cerberus knows about running an auto maker.
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Monday, July 30, 2007 11:20 AM
Don't assume that this NY Post article means a takeover is confirmed. The stock price seems to indicate that the market makers aren't expecting this deal to actually happen. A 20% premium would put the stock around $35 - its having a hard time breaking $29 today.

Edit: press release came out about a half hour ago confirms that this was all a hoax. Its not the best idea to get business news from a tabloid.

http://www.cedarfair.com/ir/press_releases/index.cfm

*** Edited 7/30/2007 4:51:47 PM UTC by Paul Blackstone***

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Monday, July 30, 2007 12:57 PM
I guess that explains why the stock price was up over a dollar until about an hour ago, then it dropped 65 cents. As far as business news and tabloids, Reuters was also reporting the story. Maybe they need to change their sources too.
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Monday, July 30, 2007 1:02 PM

Rob Ascough said:
Probably as much as Cerberus knows about running an auto maker.

Cerberus actually knows a lot more than you think about running an auto maker.

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Monday, July 30, 2007 1:07 PM

RatherGoodBear said:
Reuters was also reporting the story. Maybe they need to change their sources too.

Reuters was reporting that an article existed on the NY Post website. They weren't the ones to "break" this story.

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