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Great Wolf Lodge To Be Sold to Investment Firm

Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia opened in March of 2005. The family resort and indoor water park offers family-sized guest suites and a 64,000 square-foot indoor entertainment area featuring a grand-scale waterpark, a spa, an arcade, and restaurants. New York-based Apollo Global Management LLC said Tuesday it will buy Great Wolf Lodge Resorts for $703 million, which includes taking on the company’s outstanding debt.

Great Wolf Resorts, which operates 11 properties around the country, including one in Williamsburg, VA

These resorts generally feature 300–600 rooms and a large indoor entertainment area measuring 40,000–100,000 square feet. The all-suite properties offer a variety of room styles, arcade/game rooms, fitness rooms, themed restaurants, spas, supervised children’s activities and other amenities.

The transaction was unanimously recommended by an independent strategic review committee of the board of directors of Great Wolf and unanimously approved by the board of directors of Great Wolf, who are recommending that Great Wolf stockholders tender their shares in the offer.

Apollo is offering to buy all outstanding shares of Great Wolf common stock for $5 per share.

The news sent Great Wolf shares up 90 cents, or 21 percent, to $5.09 in morning trading.

Apollo Global Management, LLC is an investment firm, founded in 1990 by former Drexel Burnham Lambert banker Leon Black. The firm specializes in leveraged buyout transactions and purchases of distressed securities involving corporate restructuring, special situations and industry consolidations. The firm has invested over $16 billion in companies.

As of September 2011, Apollo managed over $65 billion of investor commitments across its private equity, capital markets and real estate funds and other investment vehicles Among the most notable companies currently owned by Apollo are AMC Entertainment, Claire’s, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Realogy (Coldwell Banker. Sotheby’s International Realty and Century 21 Real Estate), CKE (Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. Restaurants. Ltd) and CKX (American Idol, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali and Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a company that owns and operates eleven amusement parks and seven water parks across North America including an indoor water park in Sandusky, Ohio.

Kim Schaefer, Chief Executive Officer for Great Wolf, and her team, have done a fantastic job building this great company and consistently delivering a special experience to their guests. We are honored to have the opportunity to partner with such a talented group of people and look forward to working with them to continue to build on the many strengths of Great Wolf," said Scott Ross, Partner at Apollo Global Management.

"After a thorough assessment, we concluded that the proposal put forth by Apollo is the best way to maximize value for shareholders, who will receive a substantial and immediate cash premium for their shares," said Schaefer. "We are excited about the prospect of working with Apollo as we further capitalize on opportunities to refine and grow our Great Wolf Lodge brand. With the help of our talented and dedicated team, we will continue to offer our guests the superior experience that they have come to expect from a Great Wolf Lodge getaway."

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