KSL Deals For Two Resort Firms

Target: Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa

Price: Undisclosed

Sponsor: KSL Capital Partners LLC

Seller: Sammons Enterprises Inc.

Denver buyout shop KSL Capital Partners LLC is doubling up on the deals, pursuing a rare bidding war against Apollo Global Management for control of publicly traded Great Wolf Resorts while it inked an agreement to acquire a historic resort in North Carolina.

Great Wolf Resorts said it received an offer from KSL Capital Partners to buy the company for $7 per share, days after Great Wolf’s largest investor rejected an earlier bid made by Apollo Global, sister news service Reuters reported. Great Wolf said it has determined that the KSL Capital offer constitutes a “superior proposal” and has provided written notice to Apollo it is prepared to terminate the merger agreement.

Great Wolf’s largest investor, the New York hedge fund HG Vora Capital, had recommended shareholders reject Apollo’s $6.75 per share bid that values the company at $225.7 million, because the hedge fund expected higher offers. At deadline, Apollo was mulling whether to exercise its right to make adjustments within three business days. Great Wolf said the subsequent offer must be no less favorable than the KSL Capital proposal.

Great Wolf, based in Madison, Wis., operates 11 resort facilities around the United States, according to its Web site, and has two more under development.

Separately, KSL Capital announced that it had entered an agreement to acquire the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa from Sammons Enterprises Inc. Terms of the deal were not released. KSL Capital said that it is planning a $25 million renovation of the resort’s public areas, guest rooms, dining outlets, meeting spaces and spa.

The $25 million renovation is being undertaken in conjunction with the resort’s centennial celebration in 2013.KSL Capital said Sammons has owned and operated the resort for nearly 60 years. The 512-room Grove Park Inn sits between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains in Asheville, N.C. The agreement is expected to close in 30 days.

KSL Capital specializes in investments in travel and leisure businesses.