Cedar Fair has just announced that it is now officially looking to sell its California’s Great America amusement park in Santa Clara, California. Cedar Fair stated that they are selling the park to help reduce its debt, and has entered into an agreement to sell the park to JMA Ventures, LLC (JMA) for $70 million.
JMA Ventures, LLC, is a real estate and investment firm who manages projects in hospitality and leisure properties among others. The company is perhaps most well-known in California for its ownership in major mountain and ski resorts, including: Alpine Meadows, Fairmont Heritage Place, and Red Lodge Mountain. The company has been in operation in this line of business since 1986, and Cedar Fair seems to have no doubts they will be more than competent manages of the parks future.
Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel stated in the press release, “Our decision to divest of our California’s Great America park was not an easy one…we determined that divesting a smaller park like California’s Great America at an attractive market value created a compelling business opportunity we couldn’t pass up.” Namely, selling the smaller park gives the company a chance to reduce its debt without greatly affecting its current lineup of parks, giving them greater financial flexibility in the coming years.
The California’s Great America park is one of the leading parks in the area, featuring over 50 rides and attractions, but the park seems to have fallen by the wayside over the years. Over the past few years, the ride has seen the loss of several rides and attractions, such as the recently announced removal of the parks Invertigo roller coaster, but has seen few additions to the parks lineup of rides. The last ride additions to the park were 2008’s FireFall Top Spin attraction from HUSS, and the 2006 Zamerla Disk’O attraction. Other than those two rides, the majority of the parks additions have been shows and waterpark expansions.
While the agreement has been made between Cedar Fair and JMA, it is still subject to approval by the City of Santa Clara and closing conditions, but is expected to close without any issues in the fourth quarter of 2011. As mentioned previously, once the transaction is completed, it is expected the $70 million will be applied to the company’s secured debt.