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Should Disney buy Great Wolf?


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  • Should Disney buy Great Wolf?

    I submit the following for your speculation:

    Teeter and the Wolf
    Motley Fool 8/17/06

    By Rick Aristotle Munarriz

    The past few days have had more twists and turns than a water slide for Great Wolf Resorts. On Tuesday, the stock soared nearly 10% higher following speculation that the company was on the block. Shares inched lower yesterday, after the company announced that it was not for sale.

    This wasn't your garden-variety cyberspace buyout rumor. Hayground Cove Asset Management, a hedge fund that owns a significant stake in Great Wolf, filed with the SEC, indicating that it felt the company would be worth as much as $16 per share in a sale. Hayground's Jason Ader -- a fund manager who had once earned his keep analyzing gaming and lodging industry stocks for Bear Stearns -- also noted that Great Wolf chairman Bruce Neviaser had approached Ader to discuss a potential sale of the struggling leader in the growing indoor-water-parks industry.

    Transforming hotels into stand-alone destinations by anchoring them to huge, enclosed watery playgrounds is a growing trend. Companies like Great Wolf and Kalahari are doing it, and InterContinental's Holiday Inn chain has been upgrading a few of its properties in that mold. Even regional amusement park operators Six Flags and Income Investor pick Cedar Fair have each built an indoor-water-park resort next to a conventional park......

    A sale, at the right price, would be a great way for the company to cash out pained investors and reestablish itself with new owners that have yet to let the market down. Suitors would likely include private equity firms and lodging-industry giants. I think that Great Wolf would be a great fit for Stock Advisor selection Disney, too -- as long as it catches up to what the regional players are doing, while also beefing up its timeshare and resort-travel business.
    Essencially Great Wolf is a company that doing what DisneyQuest was doing but with a Water Park...

    I think the idea is brilliant for Disney's Resorts to enter this sector... they would knock the socks of the competition and allow regional vacationers something of interest so they don't have to huff it all the way to a theme park all the time... (I mean, they would anyway, but... this is a little bit differant in concept...)
    Check out my other blog:

  • #2
    Re: Should Disney buy Great Wolf?

    I too think this is a great idea for Disney. Although I am under no illusions that this would actually take place, I do beleive that this would allow Disney to enter the primarilly Midwest market without building a MK type of park. With the proper theming overhaul Disney could introduce many thousands to the Disney magic without the investment of a large park.

    Some may decry the "watering down" (no pun intended) of the Disney mystique, but I think that an entry level park could pull in those that either don't want to fight the crowd's a full-fledged Disney property or are working their way into the Disney experience.

    But from the standpoint of someone totally unfamiliar with the economics of the theme park business, I truely have no idea what impact this would have. Regardless, I would like to see it happen still.


    • #3
      Re: Should Disney buy Great Wolf?

      I have stayed at the Great Wolf Resort in Wisconsin Dells, and it is a good Hotel. However in the Wisconsin Dells area, the Wilderness Hotel has the Great Wolf beat by a lot. The Wilderness is a great place to vacation in Wisconsin. They have been expanding each and every year since we have been there. The Great Wolf and the Wilderness are very close in proximity to each other. Actually the Kalahari is right close by too.

      In fact I am visiting the Wilderness in just 4 days.

      I will keep my eyes and ears open for updates on this story.


      • #4
        Re: Should Disney buy Great Wolf?

        I would fear the Disney influence upon places like the Wisconsin Dells. Call me a heretic, but I actually dig the tackiness and half-measure nature of places like that. There's a vitality and fresh-ness to it that the "buttoned up" Disney model lacks. When you hit downtown Dells, there's a visual cacaphony to the place, an excitement that's raw. I like that.

        Now, would it make financial sense for the Disney Corporation to dig into that money pie? Of course it would. But I, for one, am too tired of seeing America corporatized on all levels. When was the last time you ate at a TRULY "mom and pop" restaraunt? Or stopped for gas at an independent gas station? Or shopped at an independent corner market?

        Don't get me wrong, I'm not completely anti-corporation. I'm a Disney shareholder and want to see the company do well just as much as the next guy. But they do seem to be like introduced species... crowding out the natives by over-competition.

        Just my thoughts.

        Now they stood beside the treasure on the mountain, dark and red
        Turned the stone and looked beneath it... "peace on Earth" was all it said.
        -Legend of Billy Jack


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