Kennywood, Idlewild, Sandcastle could get new owner | TribLIVE.com
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Tom Davidson

The Spanish company that owns Kennywood Park in West Mifflin is courting a takeover offer from an international investment company.

Piolin Bidco S.A.U. has offered $703 million to buy the remaining interest in Parques Reunidos, owner of Kennywood, West Homestead’s Sandcastle and Ligonier’s Idlewild parks, El Pais newspaper of Madrid reported.

Swedish investment fund EQT, which isn’t affiliated with the Pittsburgh-based energy company, controls Piolin Bidco. EQT is partnering with Alba and Miles Capital, entities that already control 44% of Madrid-based Parques Reunidos, El Pais reported.

On March 15, Piolin Bidco informed Parques Reunidos of its intention to make an offer, and, later that month, the Parques Reunidos board authorized execution of a confidentiality agreement regarding the possible transaction, according to a statement from Parques Reunidos.

Its board will meet to assess the offer, according to the statement.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether any transaction would impact the operations of the amusement parks in the region, which are set to open in the coming weeks.

Kennywood opens May 4, Sandcastle opens May 25 and Idlewild opens May 18.

In February, the amusement parks announced that they were looking to fill 2,700 seasonal jobs. All new and returning seasonal employees will see an increase in hourly wages from previous years, officials said at the time. Pay rates would be $9 per hour, with Sandcastle lifeguards making $11 per hour. New Idlewild team members would make $8.30 to $9 per hour to start.

It’s unclear whether the possible transaction would impact summer employment.

“We’re preparing for the start of the summer season as we always would,” Kennywood spokesman Nick Paradise said.

Last year, Kennywood partnered with the Pittsburgh Steelers for a new themed area called Steelers Country.

The area will be on the site of the former Log Jammer ride and nearby picnic pavilions and will include a new coaster, Steel Curtain. The coaster’s name pays homage to the Steelers’ legendary defense of the 1970s.

When completed, Steelers Country will include indoor and outdoor dining areas, football-themed games and other football-related experiences.

Parques Reunidos reached a deal in December 2007 to buy Kennywood, Idlewild & SoakZone, Sandcastle Waterpark and other properties belonging to Kennywood Entertainment of Pittsburgh. The Spanish company operates more than 60 amusement parks, water parks, zoos and other entertainment venues across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.

Until being bought by Parques Reunidos, Kennywood Entertainment had been a family business since F.W. Henninger and Andrew McSwigan bought the flagship West Mifflin park, once a picnic area accessible by trolley, from Monongahela Railway Co. in 1906.

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