Cedar Fair to sell California's Great America for $70 million

Posted Monday, September 19, 2011 11:35 AM | Contributed by Jeff

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

Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its California's Great America amusement park, located in Santa Clara, California, to JMA Ventures, LLC ("JMA") for $70 million in cash. The Company, which purchased the park in 2006, expects to use the cash proceeds from this sale to reduce its senior secured debt.

"Our decision to divest of our California's Great America park was not an easy one," said Dick Kinzel, Cedar Fair's chief executive officer. "This is a quality park that has terrific employees and serves a strong market. That being said, as part of our regular comprehensive review of our portfolio of parks, we determined that divesting a smaller park like California's Great America at an attractive market value created a compelling business opportunity that we couldn't pass up. Among other things, it provides us the opportunity to immediately de-lever our balance sheet resulting in additional financial flexibility for growth and unitholder value creation in the future. California's Great America and its employees have always demonstrated tremendous capability in providing its customers with the highest level of family entertainment in the northern California region. I'm confident the park and its employees will continue to thrive under the ownership of JMA."

"As we look toward 2012, we are building significant momentum for Cedar Fair to deliver consistent and meaningful distributions to our unitholders," said Matt Ouimet, Cedar Fair's president. "At the same time, we remain committed to driving top-line growth through a combination of new rides and attractions, marketing initiatives and related strategic expansion around our entire portfolio of premier entertainment venues. The divestiture of California's Great America will provide us with additional financial flexibility earlier than anticipated to achieve these goals and maintain Cedar Fair's position as one of the most attractive growth and yield stories in the leisure and hospitality industry."

The transaction, which is subject to approval by the City of Santa Clara and customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2011. Cash proceeds received at closing are expected to be applied to the Company's senior secured debt under the terms of the Company's credit agreement. A Form 8-K with the material terms of the definitive agreement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by the end of day Tuesday.

California's Great America is northern California's leading amusement park, with more than 50 rides and attractions. JMA Ventures, LLC is a California-based full service real estate investment firm, serving as managing partner of over $500 million in existing projects spanning hospitality, leisure, residential developments, retail, office and industrial/telecom.

Read the entire press release from Cedar Fair.

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