Last updated: 01:09 PM ET, Wed March 25 2015

Centerbridge Acquires Great Wolf Resorts for $1.35 Billion

Hotel & Resort | Patrick Clarke | March 25, 2015

Centerbridge Acquires Great Wolf Resorts for $1.35 Billion

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New York-based private equity firm Centerbridge Partners has agreed to acquire water park operator Great Wolf Resorts from Apollo Global Management for $1.35 billion including debt, according to Reuters.

Founded by brothers Jack and Andrew Waterman nearly two decades ago, Great Wolf Resorts is the largest operator of indoor water parks in the U.S. The company offers a combination of accommodation and entertainment, including various water park rides. 

Centerbridge Partners were ultimately successful in auction for the resort chain after agreeing to shell out "more than ten times the company's annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization."

According to, senior managing director William Rahm said Centerbridge is "fully committed to expanding the company into new markets."

However, the next step will likely include a rise in admission prices. "Typically, when a transaction occurs, prices go up, they do not go down," said International Theme Park Services president Dennis Speigel via the New York Post.

The big winner in the immediate aftermath is Apollo, which purchased Great Wolf Resorts in March 2012 for $703 million, and now stands to gain roughly 2.5 times its original investment. 

At the time Great Wolf was acquired by Apollo, the company had been reporting substantial losses despite seeing revenue increase, according to the New York Times. The company reported a $50 million loss in 2010 and a $25.7 million loss in 2011. 

Centerbridge Partners will now be tasked with elevating the resort chain.

The first Great Wolf Resort debuted in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin in 1997, and as of 2014, the company boasts a dozen locations in North America, with a majority of them opening in the mid-2000s.

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