New York Post Exclusive, by Peter Lauria, July 30, 2007:
Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., the nation's third-largest theme-park operator, has entered into quick-moving talks with investment firm Destiny Capital Solutions about a $4.1 billion takeover, The Post has learned.
The Post broke the news three weeks ago that Cedar Fair was reaching out to private-equity firms to gauge their interest in a buyout on the condition that the company's management team remained in place.
That's a caveat Destiny Capital is willing to accept, with a spokesman for the firm saying that it has agreed to keep Cedar Fair CEO Richard Kinzel, 66, and other managers in place for a period of time, should a deal be reached.
While the talks with Destiny Capital are at an early stage and could break down, and while other bidders could emerge, the spokesman said the two sides have had constructive negotiations since first making contact two weeks ago.
The deal Destiny Capital proposed calls for paying $4.1 billion, or a 20 percent premium over Cedar Fair's current market value, to acquire all of the theme-park operator's shares.
The firm also said it plans to commit at least $500 million, and as much as $800 million, to upgrade Cedar Fair's 12 amusement parks, six water parks and six hotels, which include Knott's Berry Farm in California and Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas. Only Disney and Six Flags are bigger players in the theme-park world.