Six Flags, Cedar Fair Announce $8B Merger

Six Flags
Six Flags rollercoaster | Image by shellmy

Two theme park titans announced they were merging in a behemoth deal worth $8 billion.

Leading regional theme park operators Six Flags and Cedar Fair revealed that they had entered into a “merger of equals” on the morning of November 2. Once the deal is finalized early next year, they will boast a North American portfolio of 42 amusement and water parks, as well as nine resorts.

“The combination of Six Flags and Cedar Fair will redefine our guests’ amusement park experience as we combine the best of both companies,” said Selim Bassoul, Six Flags’ president and CEO, in a statement.

The deal is also anticipated to generate significant savings, with the economizing of approximately $120 million expected from combining and then streamlining the two companies’ administrative and operational costs.

Over the last 12 months, Six Flags and Cedar Fair said they collectively logged 48 million visitors. Their combined revenue stood at about $3.4 billion. The deal is expected to result in $200 million in savings in annual spending, largely by eliminating redundant administrative and operational costs.

“The combination also creates an enhanced financial profile with strong cash flow generation to accelerate investments in our parks to delight our guests, driving increased levels of demand and in-park value and spending,” added Richard Zimmerman, Cedar Fair’s president and CEO, in a statement.

Moreover, Cedar Fair, which is based in Sandusky, Ohio, and Six Flags, which is based in Arlington, will mount a new headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, with Zimmerman taking the reins. Although a press release explained that teams in Sandusky will continue to run many finance and administrative operations, it is unclear what will happen to the Arlington corporate office.

News of the merger comes two months after Six Flags announced that it would be overhauling its parks with capital expenditures projected to reach up to $220 million, as reported by The Dallas Express. For instance, Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington was planning for the expansion of its log flume with the aim of making it one of the longest in the world.

Investors have reacted to the merger by making the two companies’ stock prices soar. As of November 3, Six Flags stock prices were up 7.33% at $24 a share, while Cedar Fair stock was up 2.7% at $38 a share, according to Market Watch.

The merger will be an all-stock deal, with Cedar Fair shareholders owning about 51.2% and Six Flags shareholders holding 48.8%, yet both companies will have the same number of seats on the board.

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