Owner of Valleyfair being acquired by Apollo Global

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 18, 2009 - 8:37 PM

Rollar coaster enthusiasts on Valleyfair's Renagade roller coaster.

Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

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Valleyfair is getting a new owner.

Cedar Fair LP, the Ohio owner of Valleyfair in Shakopee and 10 other amusement parks, has agreed to be acquired by asset manager Apollo Global Management for about $635 million in cash. Including assumed debt, the companies value the deal at $2.4 billion.

Stacy Frole, a spokeswoman for Cedar Fair, said that it was "business as usual" and that the company doesn't plan to change its operating approach. "They do not expect to make changes to our staffing levels," she said.

Cedar Fair -- which has owned Valleyfair since 1978, two years after it opened -- said in March it was considering selling the park.

The sale of Cedar Fair capped a year in which the economy led to the dropoff of more than a million visitors to the company's amusement and water parks, and it saw rival Six Flags seek bankruptcy protection.

Cedar Fair, based in Sandusky, Ohio, also owns Cedar Point in Ohio, Canada's Wonderland near Toronto, Dorney Park in Pennsylvania and California's Knott's Berry Farm and Great America.

The deal is expected to close by the end of March.

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