Published: April 6, 2010 at 1:38 PM
The debt load, as it currently stands, is a huge problem for Cedar Fair going forward. Theme parks are a capital-intensive business, and if you don't have money for new iron every year, you'll bleed market share until your survival is in question.
Cedar Fair needs to restructure its debt, find a new investor or sell. If it doesn't, then it faces the future that Six Flags just lived - financial instability leading to a) management takeover or b) bankruptcy or c) both.
The Apollo deal would have solved the debt problem, but with the economy showing a bit of improvement (or at least the lack of a crisis), and a market being established for theme park deals with SeaWorld and NBC/Uni, I can see easily why Q Investments and other Cedar Fair stakeholders saw the Apollo price as too low.
But just because Cedar Fair didn't do this deal doesn't mean that Cedar Fair can avoid making some deal in the near future.