Arcis about to close on 48 CNL courses

Blake Walker is about to be the new big man on campus in the golf industry. The veteran buyer is in the process of closing on the acquisition of 48 golf courses from CNL Lifestyle Properties. He hopes the sales will close in late August or early September.

Walker, who previously ran Pegasus Golf Partners and oversaw acquisitions for ClubCorp, has been CEO and managing partner for Texas-based Arcis Equity Partners since January 2013. Backed by funds from Fortress Investment Group, a $65 billion investment management firm, Arcis began buying golf courses from the outset. In 2013, it acquired the 63-hole BrightStar Golf Group portfolio, which includes TPC Snoqualmie Ridge and The Club at Pradera.

But the CNL acquisition will make that deal seem very small in comparison. The sales price has been set at $320 million, with the final number depending on receivables and operational fees and expenses.

“Blake Walker has gone from a small player to one of the most powerful people in golf [with this deal]” said Steve Ekovich, managing director of the National Golf & Resort Properties Group at Marcus & Millichap and a close observer of acquisitions in the golf industry.

For CNL, the price is consistent with its estimated net asset value of the portfolio. CNL reported that net cash from the deal would be around $208 million, after repayment of approximately $89.9 million in debt.

Walker began discussions with CNL in early 2014. CNL reported in an SEC filing that it hired a global investment banking and advisory firm to assist with a possible sale in March.

Most of the CNL courses are currently in long-term leases with Fore Golf Partners. Eagle Golf Management also manages some. CNL, as a real estate investment trust, was precluded by law from managing courses. 

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Please keep us updated on the sale of Fox meadow cc.We are very excited about new management and ownership.

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