Six Flags Corporate Discussion Thread

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Re: Six Flags Corporate Discussion Thread

Postby AndrewRnR » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:28 pm

I'll say what I said in the SEAS thread:

Buying SEAS? No way. Not feasible. Licensing/partnership/management deals since Zhonghong is in quite a bit of hot water right now... not far fetched.

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Re: Six Flags Corporate Discussion Thread

Postby coasterbill » Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:20 pm

One thing that we need to make sure we don't lose sight of is that just because the Orlando Sentinel name gives this story some credibility it still cites some blog with less than 1,000 Facebook likes and Twitter followers as the source. One frustrating and semi-new media phenomenon is that a source like that can routinely be picked up by larger and larger sources who report on it and cite the original source but people see larger sources (like Attractions Magazine) "reporting" it and it gives it more and more credibility until people like the The Motley Fool and the Orlando Sentinel pick it up. Once people see a source like that it spreads like wildfire. For example: now CBS has picked it up citing the Orlando sentinel even though all that the Orlando Sentinel did was cite this f*cking blog.

The source is no more credible than it was yesterday and there are no additional sources. None of these people did any reporting on this, they let someone else do it for them and posted it knowing that it would get clicks and that if it turned about to be totally wrong they could just defer down the line until it got back to this blog that's already posting panicked follow up disclaimers in the wake of the firestorm that they created like this and this. It's even impacted the stock price (though to be fair, the market is up big today anyway).

I'm not saying that Six Flags entering into some kind of licensing situation is out of the question (buying it outright is since if anyone wanted to do that they would have probably jumped when the share price was hovering around $10) but PLEASE keep in mind that smoke in this case doesn't indicate fire... it indicates sh*tty, lazy "journalism".

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Re: Six Flags Corporate Discussion Thread

Postby coasterBro » Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:24 pm

This entire idea is nonsense. This "news" was posted by a blogger with no cited sources or facts, blindly picked up and run with by the Orlando Sentinel, and then regurgitated to a wider audience by a CBS reporter who seemingly exists solely to churn out as many stories a day as possible (that are all just aggregated from other sites). And then the original blog post was apparently deleted (because you can't find any record of it on their blog). [edit: apparently he posted it on Facebook, which is still there. But seriously, Orlando Sentinel, you can't run a story based on some yahoo's unsubstantiated Facebook post.]

This is an unfortunate example of the sad state of journalism in this country today showing how quickly "journalists" will run with baseless stories without any kind of investigation or vettting of the original source. And as soon as one news organization runs with a story, everybody else just cites that organization and runs it themselves, regardless of whether or not the story had any factual basis. This quest to be 'FIRST' without regard for being accurate is completely destroying journalism (and people's trust in it), and that makes me sad.




But in other news, I got a survey a couple days ago from Six Flags asking about all kinds of stuff related to the Flash Pass program. It sounds like they're considering different options for season Flash Passes, but with various restrictions like what day it can/can't be used (any day, no weekends, no Tuesday), or what time of day it can be used (any time, after 2PM, after 4PM), or whether or not you'd need to get an advance reservation and how far in advance that might be (none, 24hrs, 3 days), or how many rides are available (5-30, but no mention of which rides those could be or if it was the number of line skips you get independent of which attractions you can ride).

Not sure if this new Season FP would be an option in addition to what they currently have or in place of those. The feature sets and price points were all over the map, with a lot of feature/price combinations that just made no sense at all and couldn't possibly be economically viable (like a minimally-restricted Platinum FP for $50, or a really-locked down Regular FP for like $250)
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Re: Six Flags Corporate Discussion Thread

Postby AndrewRnR » Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:55 pm

coasterbill wrote:I'm not saying that Six Flags entering into some kind of licensing situation is out of the question (buying it outright is since if anyone wanted to do that they would have probably jumped when the share price was hovering around $10) but PLEASE keep in mind that smoke in this case doesn't indicate fire... it indicates sh*tty, lazy "journalism".


But that's exactly the point, there is more smoke than just the FB post by a blogger. Not saying the smoke is exactly for a sale but rather something is brewing. Zhonghong is broke, in trouble with the govt, leadership has assets frozen, and company about to get delisted. Then this comes out.... and shares go up. Zhonghong made some nice money off today's news. But time is up for Zhonghong.

Don't disagree with anything you said (but hey the Sentinel quoted me so it isn't a waste of an article ;) ) but I think there is a larger story brewing here. Maybe it isn't a sale, but with Zhonghong's position things are about to get interesting.

You're spot on about someone would've bought them around $10 bucks - Zhonghong bought at a premium of ~22 a share. Unless it was a very strong hostile takeover, between Zhonghong at 22 and Hill Path in the high teens, a majority of the company ownership would be against selling for that low of a price. That in of itself caused analysts to question the company for conflict of interests accusing SeaWorld of not selling when low because their board is made up of Zhonghong folks who would lose big. I always thought once shares hit the $22 dollar threshold something might happen so no one in a majority ownership would lose money. We have passed that for a month or two now and Zhonghong situation back home continues to worsen. Selling to Six Flags or whoever to have Six Flags manage might sound crazy, but I think something will be happening in coming weeks and Zhonghong is at the end of the line.

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Re: Six Flags Corporate Discussion Thread

Postby coasterbill » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:22 pm

I think we’re pretty much on the same page. Like I said in that portion of my post that you quoted it’s not out of the question at all that Six Flags (or someone else) could step in at all. Something has to give. It’s reaosnable to assume that someone is going to step in and Six Flags is a perfectly reasonable option.

The main focus of my post is that the way this is being reported is bullshit and that there’s only one highly-questionable source that seems to be panicking over how much traction their blog post actually got. The amount of lazy journalism that led to this being a major story today with Six Flags specifically named with any amount of confidence is honestly embarrassing.

That said: It’s a scenario that (for reasons you outlined far better than I would have) totally COULD happen, there’s just no reason to believe with any confidence that these people have sources confirming it.

coasterBro wrote:This entire idea is nonsense. This "news" was posted by a blogger with no cited sources or facts, blindly picked up and run with by the Orlando Sentinel, and then regurgitated to a wider audience by a CBS reporter who seemingly exists solely to churn out as many stories a day as possible (that are all just aggregated from other sites).


Excellent post. It looks like we were basically typing similar things at the same time and I agree 100%.

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Re: Six Flags Corporate Discussion Thread

Postby larrygator » Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:43 pm

With the financial difficulties at Zhonghong. there is certainly someone within the Six Flags corporate structure tasked with keeping an eye on SEAS and occasionally puts feelers out to SEAS. There is just as surely someone within the CF corporate structure that does the same.

I didn't see anything misleading about the original story in the Orlando Sentinel. If people decide to put more credence in the shaky source with a lack of details that's on the reader not the contact reporter. If this article is written by a feature writer, that's a completely different scenario.
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Re: Six Flags Corporate Discussion Thread

Postby Jew » Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:56 pm

larrygator wrote:With the financial difficulties at Zhonghong. there is certainly someone within the Six Flags corporate structure tasked with keeping an eye on SEAS and occasionally puts feelers out to SEAS. There is just as surely someone within the CF corporate structure that does the same.

I didn't see anything misleading about the original story in the Orlando Sentinel. If people decide to put more credence in the shaky source with a lack of details that's on the reader not the contract reporter. If this article is written by a feature writer, that's a completely different scenario.


When I worked at SFMM many years ago (during the height/end of the spending spree that ultimately led to BK), Busch representatives visited the park numerous times with the intent being to check out the park for a potential purchase.

Are we at the point a purchase is imminent? No way. But I have no doubt someone from Six Flags at least explored (or is still exploring...) the option.
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Re: Six Flags Corporate Discussion Thread

Postby Lemur » Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:52 am

larrygator wrote:With the financial difficulties at Zhonghong, there is certainly someone within the Six Flags corporate structure tasked with keeping an eye on SEAS and occasionally puts feelers out to SEAS. There is just as surely someone within the CF corporate structure that does the same.

I didn't see anything misleading about the original story in the Orlando Sentinel. If people decide to put more credence in the shaky source with a lack of details that's on the reader not the contract reporter. If this article is written by a feature writer, that's a completely different scenario.


Zhonghong's stake in Seaworld cost them over $400 million in 2017. They just defaulted on $174 million in bonds. Yeah, doesn't look good for Zhonghong. And yeah, they could raise the cash by selling off all or part of their 22% stake in Seaworld (they could theoretically sell off a quarter of the stake to raise the cash and still maintain control of the board). The issue is ... who is going to buy it? Six Flags' has about $68 mill in cash on hand and another $230 mill or so they can borrow against in a credit facility. Cedar Fair has more - $145 mill or so in cash for investing and another $160 mill or so they can get ahold of by financing it (they have a credit facility, but only for operations, not financing). Even if Zhonghong wants to take a 50% loss in valuation on that stake - which they most likely wouldn't want to do unless absolutely necessary - neither SF or CF is in a position to buy it. I'm sure the management groups of all three parks are in contact though, as that's common industry practice. Portfolio managers routinely check in on companies that are on their watch lists. It could easily be a twice-yearly visit from SF triggered a rumor and some admin ran with it. Stranger things have happened.

As for the article, most large papers don't actually employ regular journos other than editors and big-name feature writers. They largely rely on freelancers who get a lot of their information much the same way we do - scraping through internet forums, Facebook groups, reddit subs and other places insiders are wont to post about their jobs. The piece itself is pretty innocuous if not exactly rooted in reality for the reasons listed above, but it's not exactly what the Columbia J-School would label "good journalism" ... or really, "journalism".

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Re: Six Flags Corporate Discussion Thread

Postby DirkFunk » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:43 am

If Six Flags was wanting to buy SEAS, I don't think it is unreasonable right now that they could find an institutional lender willing to to finance the transaction. They might have to sell off some stuff afterwards (e.g. Aquatica San Diego) but I can't see a situation in which they'd be forced to rely purely on their cash in hand and revolving credit.

Anyways, journalism is dead and signal boosting no-name bloggers is in.

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Re: Six Flags Corporate Discussion Thread

Postby Lemur » Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:26 am

DirkFunk wrote:If Six Flags was wanting to buy SEAS, I don't think it is unreasonable right now that they could find an institutional lender willing to to finance the transaction. They might have to sell off some stuff afterwards (e.g. Aquatica San Diego) but I can't see a situation in which they'd be forced to rely purely on their cash in hand and revolving credit.


You're probably right in that, especially since they voted to double the amount of common stock they can issue in May. And right now isn't a terrible time to borrow, what with the Fed announcing no rate hikes for the next year. I think the issue is still desire to take on those liabilities along with the assets and the debt load. I think every park watcher and person familiar with the industry read that and immediately thought of the SeaWorld of Ohio/Geauga Lake/Worlds of Adventure disaster x 3.

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