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Originally published Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 8:24 AM

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Cedar Fair: Takeover not happening

Cedar Fair LP, one of the nation's largest operators of amusement parks, said Tuesday that its plan to go private in a $635 million takeover by asset manager Apollo Global Management has been scrapped because of a poor response from shareholders.

The Associated Press

SANDUSKY, Ohio —

Cedar Fair LP, one of the nation's largest operators of amusement parks, said Tuesday that its plan to go private in a $635 million takeover by asset manager Apollo Global Management has been scrapped because of a poor response from shareholders.

"It is apparent that the merger transaction does not have the required level of investor support," Cedar Fair chairman, president and CEO Dick Kinzel said in a statement.

"We are honored and excited by the opportunity to continue to manage and operate Cedar Fair as a public company," he said.

Cedar Fair had accepted Apollo's $11.50 per share offer in December. The deal followed a tough year of declining attendance and spending at Cedar Fair's amusement parks, which include Cedar Point in northern Ohio, Dorney Park in Pennsylvania and Knott's Berry Farm and Great America in California.

Apollo also agreed to assume $1.7 billion in Cedar Fair debt if holders of two-thirds of the company's shares approved the transaction.

Cedar Fair will be evaluating next steps to address its capital situation and remains committed to acting in the best interests of its shareholders, Kinzel said.

With their deal now terminated, Cedar Fair said it would reimburse Apollo $6.5 million for expenses related to the proposed transaction.

Cedar Fair shares rose 17 cents, or 1.4 percent, to close Tuesday at $12.37. They have traded in a range of $6.03 to $13.56 in the last year.

Spokeswoman Stacy Frole said Cedar Fair "would not anticipate any impact on our summer season" as a result of the termination of the buyout deal.

In his statement, Kinzel noted that the company has already introduced major new roller coasters at its Kings Dominion park in Virginia at Carowinds in North Carolina.

"We hope to continue this momentum across the rest of our properties and throughout the operating season," he said.

Once a regional chain, Cedar Fair became an industry giant with its $1.24 billion acquisition of Paramount Parks Inc. The June 2006 deal added five amusement parks to its lineup, including Kings Island near Cincinnati, but also saddled Cedar Fair with a heavy debt load.

Cedar Fair, based in Sandusky where Cedar Point is located, owns and operates 11 amusement parks, six outdoor water parks, one indoor water park and five hotels.

Among its holdings are Canada's Wonderland near Toronto, Valleyfair in Minnesota, Worlds of Fun in Missouri and Michigan's Adventure in western Michigan.

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