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Economy and Business


No one to take Cedar Fair

Story by KAYLEE REMINGTON


 
The sale of Cedar Fair has fallen through. That leaves the Sandusky-based amusement park company with 1.7 billion dollars in debt and no likely suitors.

Apollo Global Management had offered to assume the debt and pay 635 million dollars to shareholders. But many felt the price per share was too low.

Dennis Speigel is president of International Theme Park Services. Speigel says the proposed deal offended big and small Cedar Fair shareholders.

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Speigel says the amusement-park business remains a strong one, but its boom days are likely over… so it will need to look for new ways of doing business.

 

 

 

Cedar Fair owns Cedar Point in

Sandusky and Kings Island in Cincinnati and 10 other amusement and water parks in North America.

 

 

Listener Comments:

CEO Dick Kinzel stated, ” We are honored and excited by the opportunity to continue to manage and operate Cedar Fair…”

Mr. Kinzel you would be wise not to get to excited, or make any long term plans, for your future at Cedar Fair. Your tenure is up. Unitholders are simply going to have to let you go.

As to the Cedar Fair party line concerning the $6.5 million fee to Apollo–it is not, as has been characterized, a “reimbursement of expenses.” It is foolish of CF to make this payment to Apollo.

Smart money would have made Apollo bring suit in an effort to collect this excessive remuneration. This is yet another marker for managements missteps, misjudgments, and misdirection, of resources.

Unitholder defeat of the flawed merger agreement is but the beginning. Now the real Unitholder work begins: cleaning up the executive suite.

It should also be apparent management no longer has the “required level of investor support” to continue much into the future. That would account for why they paid Apollo $6.5 million to exit the deal before the scheduled Unitholder Meeting Thursday.

By canceling the vote Mr. Kinzel and management avoid facing the company owners, who, as the story points out, planned to pack the Sandusky State Theater.

No doubt they would have called for big changes in the executive suite.

This is yet another delay tactic devised by an ineffective leader.Put off facing Unitholders tomorrow.

However, lacking the support of your owners, your days are numbered.

The Unitholders have mutinied. Owners have delivered a resounding vote of “no confidence” in management.

Now is the time, in the coming critical season, to radically improve revenues. Kinzel and his management team have shown they do not have the necessary skill set to accomplish this task.

Unitholders must demand immediate changes which will deliver the talent to lead the company into the future. Not dwell in the past.

Exit gracefully Mr. Kinzel, make way for forward looking leadership, or risk being thrown overboard by your Unitholders.

Kinzel and company must know the ride is now over for them.

Time to do what should have been done following the Paramount acquisition–retire Kinzel. But for the various mistakes and myopic vision of Kinzel CF would not find itself in the precarious situation it is in.

The way to fix the problems is to fix management. Even Apollo got that right.

Out with the old, in with the new.

Unitholders your real work has just begun. Time to reform the board and management suite at CF.


Posted by: LelandWykoff (Ducktown, Tennessee) on April 7, 2010 6:23PM
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