NEW YORK–Blackstone Real Estate Partners IX, an affiliate of Blackstone (NYSE: BX) (“Blackstone”), and affiliates of Centerbridge Partners, L.P. (“Centerbridge”, the existing owner) announced today that Blackstone is acquiring a 65% controlling interest in Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. (“Great Wolf” or the “Company”). Great Wolf is a leading owner and operator of family-oriented entertainment resorts, with 18 resorts around the country. As part of the transaction, Blackstone and Centerbridge will form a new $2.9 billion joint venture to own the Company.
Tyler Henritze, Head of US Acquisitions for Blackstone Real Estate, commented, “We have been very impressed by the evolution and growth of the company under Centerbridge’s ownership. With the leadership of its talented management team, Great Wolf has enriched the guest experience and opened seven new lodges since 2015. We look forward to investing in these properties to further deliver for guests and grow the company.”
“We are enthusiastic about partnering with Blackstone to continue accelerating the growth of the company,” stated William D. Rahm, a Senior Managing Director and Global Head of Real Estate at Centerbridge. “Blackstone is one of the most experienced and successful investors in the hospitality and leisure industries, and is highly supportive of Great Wolf’s growth potential and each lodge’s ability to provide unparalleled experiences for families.”
Murray Hennessy, the CEO of Great Wolf Resorts, stated, “We are pleased to welcome Blackstone as a new member of the Great Wolf pack and excited to begin the next chapter for our rapidly expanding company. Great Wolf stands to benefit greatly from Blackstone’s world-class insights and expertise in hospitality, and values Centerbridge’s continued involvement as we look to further expand the Great Wolf brand with the development of new resorts and enhancements to our renowned immersive family experiences.”
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. are serving as financial advisors to Great Wolf, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is serving as legal counsel to Great Wolf.
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLC is serving as legal counsel to Blackstone.
About Great Wolf Resorts, Inc.
Great Wolf provides safe and immersive entertainment experiences for families in all seasons and all weather conditions across 18 resorts, or “lodges”, in the United States and Canada, with more in the pipeline including a new lodge in Northern California scheduled to open in 2020. Every Great Wolf lodge contains a full-service hotel, expansive indoor waterpark, recreational activities including game rooms, ropes courses, and family bowling alleys, various food & beverage offerings, and themed experiences with proprietary characters unique to Great Wolf. The company has approximately 6,000 full-time employees nationwide.
About Centerbridge Partners, L.P. (“Centerbridge”)
Centerbridge Partners, L.P. is a private investment management firm employing a flexible approach across investment disciplines—from private equity to credit and related strategies, and real estate—in an effort to find the most attractive opportunities for our investors and business partners. The Firm was founded in 2005 and as of June 30, 2019 has approximately $27 billion in capital under management with offices in New York and London. Centerbridge is dedicated to partnering with world-class management teams across targeted industry sectors and geographies to help companies achieve their operating and financial objectives. For more information, please visit www.Centerbridge.com.
About Blackstone Real Estate
Blackstone is a global leader in real estate investing. Blackstone’s real estate business was founded in 1991 and has $154 billion of investor capital under management. Blackstone is one of the largest property owners in the world, owning and operating assets across every major geography and sector, including logistics, multifamily and single family housing, office, hospitality and retail. Our opportunistic funds seek to acquire undermanaged, well-located assets across the world. Blackstone’s Core+ strategy invests in substantially stabilized real estate globally through regional open-ended funds focused on high-quality assets, and Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, Inc. (BREIT), a non-listed REIT that invests in U.S. income-generating assets. Blackstone Real Estate also operates one of the leading global real estate debt businesses, providing comprehensive financing solutions across the capital structure and risk spectrum, including management of Blackstone Mortgage Trust (NYSE: BXMT).