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December 17, 2009 5:19 PM

Weil, Squire Sanders, Wachtell, and O'Melveny on $2.4 Billion Cedar Fair-Apollo Deal

Posted by Irene Plagianos

Cedar Fair, L.P., a leading amusement park owner and operator, announced Wednesday that it has agreed to be acquired by an affiliate of private equity firm Apollo Global Management in a deal valued at $2.4 billion.

As part of the deal, Apollo will pay about $635 million in cash for Cedar stock and will refinance the Ohio-based company’s hefty debt, estimated at more than 1.6 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported. Cedar is hardly the only amusement park concern to find itself in dire straits these days: Six Flags succumbed to the weight of its debt and filed for bankruptcy in June.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Squire, Sanders & Dempsey advised Cedar Fair, which operates some of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the country. The New York-based Weil team was led by corporate partners Michael Aiello, Howard Chatzinoff, and Matthew Gilroy, and tax partner Marc Silberberg. For Squire Sanders, partner Cipriano Beredo led an Ohio-based team that included tax partner Steven Mount. Squire Sanders has represented Cedar Fair since the company’s initial public offering more than 20 years ago. In 2005, the firm advised Cedar on its $1.24 billion acquisition of Paramount Parks.

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and O’Melveny & Myers advised Apollo on the deal. Wachtell’s team included corporate partners Steven Cohen and Ante Vucic; litigation partner Paul Rowe; restructuring and finance partner Eric Rosof; and tax partners Jodi Schwartz and Joshua Holmes. Apollo is a regular Wachtell client. Leading O’Melveny’s team were corporate partner Gregory Ezring, real estate partner Jeff Held and environmental law partner Eric Rothenberg. O’Melveny has also advised Apollo for many years on a number of matters, including its 2004 purchase of Borden Chemical for $1.2 billion.

The deal still requires the approval of two-thirds of Cedar Oak shareholders and government regulators, according to the company's press release. The deal is expected to be completed sometime in the second quarter of 2010.

Lawyers for Weil Gotshal and Squire Sanders were unavailable for comment on the deal, Wachtell didn't respond to requests for comment and O'Melveny declined to comment.

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