Suitors line up for water parks operator

Great Wolf sees shares soar as it finds itself in the middle of a bidding war by KSL and Apollo.

By Benzinga Apr 20, 2012 7:54PM
By Brett Callwood, Benzinga Staff Writer

Who knew that a water parks operator could be such a hot property?

Great Wolf (WOLF) saw shares surge more than 8% Friday to close at $8.06 after Apollo Global Management (APO) raised its bid for the company for the second time in a week. Apollo's bid now tops an offer from KSL Capital Partners.


Apollo's new offer of $7.85 per share is being backed by the board. The total offer is roughly $740 million, including debt.


This is apparently the third time that Apollo has raised its bid for Great Wolf. It seems to really want the water parks operator, and is not giving in despite the legal issues that have plagued the deal. Shareholders sued Great Wolf following Apollo's initial proposal in March of $5 per share, claiming that Great Wolf didn't do enough to obtain the highest possible offer.


KSL offered $7.25 per share Thursday in its third attempt to buy the company. It will be interesting to see if KSL raises its offer again, but it does seem that we are seeing a bidding war for Great Wolf between Apollo and KSL.


On April 16, Hilliard Lyons published a research report stating that its advice following Apollo's initial offer in March was to hold existing positions and let the situation play out.


Shareholders may get $7 per share if the latest offer from KSL is successful or could receive a potentially higher price if a follow-up offer is made. Should an acquisition of WOLF be unsuccessful for some reason, Hilliard Lyons believes current fundamentals could support a stock price in the $5 to $6 per share range.

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