€155m theme parks thrill for Palamon

Palamon Capital Partners has acquired the European division of Six Flags Inc, a US-based theme park operator, in its largest acquisition to date.

London-based European mid-market investor Palamon Capital Partners has bought the European division of Six Flags Inc, a US-based theme park operator, for €155 million ($185 million).

The European division is to be renamed Star Parks Luxembourg HoldCo Sarl and consists of seven theme parks located in Germany, Holland, Belgium and France. The eldest of the parks is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

The investment, Palamon’s largest to date, was made from the firm’s first fund, Palamon European Equity LP, a €440 million vehicle that was closed in August 1999. The deal means that the fund is now approximately 75 percent committed.

Miles Cresswell-Turner, partner at Palamon said that the firm was in “active discussions” about raising new money and that a second fund would likely be launched in the second half of this year.

Cresswell-Turner added that the firm was currently looking at a number of transactions at varying stages of maturity, particularly in the medical health and financial services arenas, before the fund reaches the end of its investment period in August 2005.

London-based Palamon’s investment focus spans a range from start-up companies to mature operations. The theme park investment is at the upper end of deal size that Palamon typically looks at.

With portfolio companies already in the UK, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, France and Germany, Cresswell-Turner said that the theme parks represented “a unique set of assets which fits perfectly into Palamon’s European portfolio.”