Buyer backs out on California's Great America, Cedar Fair will keep the amusement park

Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2011 3:49 PM | Contributed by Jeff

[Ed. note: The following is an excerpt of a press release. -J]

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment announced today that JMA Ventures, LLC (“JMA”) has elected to not move forward with their purchase of California’s Great America amusement park in Santa Clara, California. As a result of JMA’s actions, the definitive purchase agreement governing this transaction, originally agreed on September 16, 2011, has been terminated.

“We respect JMA’s decision and are pleased to return to the long-term ownership of this exceptional property,” said Matt Ouimet, Cedar Fair’s president. “As we stated at the time the agreement was made, this is a quality park that has terrific employees and serves a strong market. We look forward to continuing to take advantage of the synergies which are uniquely available to us as a result of operating this park as part of our larger portfolio of properties.”

According to Ouimet, the termination of this sale does not alter the Company’s expectations of achieving record adjusted EBITDA between $365 million and $375 million in 2011. “In fact, we expect to be at the higher end of our original distribution guidance of $1.35 to $1.65 per limited partner unit in 2012,” he said. “With continued growth in our annual distribution rates and additional debt reduction through our improved operating performance, we believe Cedar Fair will maintain its position as one of the most attractive growth and yield stories in the leisure and hospitality industry.”

The Company also announced that it has reached a long-term agreement with the San Francisco 49ers related to the construction of the stadium and parking for NFL and other stadium-related events for the life of the new stadium. The agreement is still subject to the execution of a definitive agreement and the approval of the Stadium Authority and related approvals from the City of Santa Clara.

“The combination of an NFL stadium and a premier amusement park in one location offers tremendous and exciting opportunities for family entertainment. We are excited to reach an agreement on construction issues and parking that are important to the stadium project,” said Jed York, president and chief executive officer of the San Francisco 49ers. “This arrangement leads the way to a mutually beneficial relationship between Cedar Fair, the 49ers and the City of Santa Clara,” added Ouimet.

“California’s Great America was a strong performer in 2011 and we are confident this will continue into the future as we build the park’s customer base through new marketing initiatives and capital investments.”

Read the entire press release from Cedar Fair.

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