MADISON, WI—Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement and plan of merger with an affiliate of Centerbridge Partners, L.P. whereby Centerbridge, a private investment firm, will acquire Great Wolf, North America’s largest family of indoor waterpark resorts. Great Wolf is currently controlled by funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, LLC.
The merger agreement was unanimously approved by the board of directors of Great Wolf. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015, subject to customary closing conditions.
Kimberly K. Schaefer, the CEO of Great Wolf, stated, “This is an exciting next chapter for Great Wolf Resorts. During our partnership with Apollo, we saw tremendous growth for our company, including opening our 12th Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg, MA, and having our 13th under construction in Garden Grove, CA. Now, as we join Centerbridge’s portfolio, we look forward to continuing to provide families with amazing experiences at each of our lodges.”
William D. Rahm, senior managing director of Centerbridge, said, “Great Wolf is a leading hospitality business, and we are excited to support the company in its next phase of growth…We are also fully committed to expanding the company into new markets so more families can enjoy a Great Wolf vacation.”
“We have had a tremendous partnership with Kim Schaefer, her senior management team, and all 5,000-plus Great Wolf employees to build upon the strong family-oriented brand they have established as the leading owner and operator of indoor waterpark resorts. We look forward to continuing to experience the next phase of the company’s growth as guests of Great Wolf lodges,” said Aaron J. Stone, a senior partner of Apollo Global Management and member of the Great Wolf board of directors.