KSL Tops Apollo’s Offer for Great Wolf in Escalating Fight

Great Wolf Resorts Inc. (WOLF) said KSL Capital Partners LLC has offered to $7.25 a share to acquire the water-park operator, topping Apollo Global Management LLC (APO)’s $7 offer made yesterday.

Great Wolf said in a statement today that KSL’s offer is superior and Apollo will have until April 24 to make a better bid. The board of Madison, Wisconsin-based Great Wolf still recommends Apollo’s offer and will consider both bids after Apollo’s next decision in the escalating private-equity contest, according to the statement.

New York-based Apollo yesterday raised its offer for Great Wolf to $7 a share from $6.75 after KSL, a Denver-based private- equity firm, bid $7 on April 8. Shareholders sued Great Wolf following Apollo’s initial proposal on March 13 of $5 a share, claiming Great Wolf didn’t obtain the highest possible offer.

The shares of Great Wolf, which owns 11 resorts in North America, rose 3.6 percent to $7.42 at the close of trading in New York. The stock traded at $4.19 on March 12, the day before the board approved Apollo’s original offer.

Carolyn Sargent, a spokeswoman for Apollo at Rubenstein Associates Inc., declined to comment.

“They are going for targets that don’t seem to be particularly attractive but are relatively still promising,” Murillo Campello, professor of finance at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, said regarding Apollo’s bid yesterday. “That’s how I see the war on this resort company.”

Cash to Work

U.S. leveraged-buyout investors are looking to put to work the $425 billion of unspent capital commitments they had at the end of 2011, according to PitchBook Data Inc., a Seattle-based private-equity research company.

Great Wolf is getting financial advice from Deutsche Bank AG and legal counsel from Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP and Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP.

Apollo is being advised by Morgan Stanley (MS), UBS AG (UBSN), Nomura Holdings Inc. (8604) and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

To contact the reporter on this story: Devin Banerjee in New York at dbanerjee2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Sondag at jsondag@bloomberg.net

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