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Apollo’s $1.1B Buyout Of This Golf Course Operator Signals A Turnaround For The Struggling Industry

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management will acquire golf club operator ClubCorp Holdings in a $1.1B deal, signaling a possible rebound in cash flow for the once-favorite pastime that lost much of its appeal following the financial crisis.

Golfing

Apollo is paying a 31% premium on the country club owner’s July 7 closing price. ClubCorp Holdings owns over 200 private golf communities and has more than 430,000 club members that maintain a steady flow of cash, Bloomberg reports. Properties include country clubs in the affluent Mission Hills market in Southern California and the Woodlands in Texas. Traded on the New York Stock Exchange, ClubCorp’s investors will receive $17.12/share in the buyout.

To the dismay of golfing enthusiasts, the industry has been facing headwinds for some time. Prior to the financial crisis, when the housing market was booming, homebuyers were grabbing houses on golf courses for roughly a 20% to 25% premium without blinking an eye. Once the millennium hit, golf dropped in popularity, taking steady golf course cash flow with it. Many owners shut down courses en masse, leaving homeowners paying a premium on unavailable amenities. This problem was exacerbated by the recession.

ClubCorp has been facing challenges as a result. The company reported weak earnings in Q1. Though it posted revenues of $221.3M, a 3% jump year-to-year, the firm posted a net loss of $7.5M.

“With the support of the Apollo funds, we are confident that ClubCorp will be able to continue building on its success by providing its members with [unrivaled] experiences at its clubs,” ClubCorp Chairman John Beckert said in a statement. “This transaction represents the culmination of our review of strategic alternatives and achieves our goal of enhancing value for shareholders. The company looks forward to working closely with Apollo as it enters the next stage of its growth.”