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Six Flags Puts Itself Up for Sale

 

Thursday August 25, 8:49 am ET

 

Six Flags Board Unanimously Decides to Sell Company Through an Auction Process

 

NEW YORK (AP) -- Six Flags Inc. on Thursday said its board of directors has unanimously decided to sell the company through an auction process, one week after a dissident shareholder offered to raise his stake in the amusement-park operator and replace its management.

 

Six Flags shares jumped 91 cents, or nearly 14 percent, to $7.45 in pre-market trading after the news.

 

Six Flags said it would invite the dissident shareholder, Red Zone LLC -- a company backed by Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder -- to participate in the auction. It also said it opposed Snyder's attempt to gain control of the company through a consent solicitation and tender offer for Six Flags stock.

 

Last Thursday, Red Zone said it would offer $6.50 for each share of Six Flags and boost its stake to up to 34.9 percent, up from a current 11.7 percent.

 

Six Flags, which is based in Oklahoma City, said putting itself up for sale was "the best way to deliver full and fair value" to shareholders, particularly given Red Zone's proposal, which it said was an attempt to acquire effective control of the company without providing value to all shareholders.

 

Let the speculation begin.

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It was only when I joined a coaster club that I became aware of the negative feeling to SF parks amongst enthusiasts and only then did I think well yes, the service isn't that great, the ops are not particularly happy people, the parks are not all that well maintained. Was I becoming an enthusiast snob as generally there are many good coasters to be ridden in the SF mix?

 

Notable exceptions to my lasting impression of SF parks (as I guess I have after all become a bit sniffy about SF) are San Antonio and SF over Texas, where even the staff were friendly. I vote the 'SF Texas' management team should rise to the challenge and take the reins.

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Yeah the sad thing is that Six Flags gets a bad name because of a few bad things that seem to pervade the parks...

 

I just am really worried about what this will mean for the next few seasons... Will we see closures? Will land get sold to developers? Will the smaller parks survive?

 

I mean we seriously could lose parks over this. Ultimately I would rather have a mediocre park than no park at all...

 

That said the biggest park anywhere near me is Elitch Gardens and though it generally is pretty low on the priority list for rides it is fun to go to in the summer. Also the season ticket price has been low enough that it was basically don't even think about it territory.

 

Well I hope the new management doesn't raise prices too soon. Oh and I agree that Six Flags Over Texas is one of the best in the chain. It is still quite beautiful (well other than the Titan area which is pretty empty IMHO).

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It was only a matter of time before this would happen. Six Flags has too many parks to manage and they aren't making enough money. I'm not sure what the park count is, but apparently it's more than what they can handle.

 

Sell some of the parks, keep the best parks you can, and start making a profit.

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Even the small parks out there are money makers, the problem is the debt SF has piled up is so mind boggling that it takes a huge amount to just pay off the interest.

 

This is a better idea they letting Snyder have his way with things for sure, if he wants the company he will have to buy the company, not force a hostile takeover of it.

 

I think we will see some parks spun off, but I doubt we will see much in the way of closures.

 

IMO SFI woudl make more sense as two seperate entitities, the small SFKK's, Elitches, and Darien lakes of the chain as one set and the original 4 Six Flag's along with SFGAM, SFMM, the Texas Parks, and the California parks as the others.

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That is exactly what they are doing.

 

As bad as anyone may say Six Flag's parks are, I have yet to ever have a bad time at one of their parks. The same cannot be said of Cedar Fair (bad experience at Dorney) and Paramount (I find King's Island to be horrible.)

 

The main problem in my mind is the huge amount of debt they have racked up, that surely doesn't mean that the parks aren't totally viable.

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The more I think about it, I think of new things ... that hurt ...

 

I think there are 2 scenarios:

 

Scenario 1:

 

The parks will be sold off in their current state. The new owner will obviously look at all assets (as happens with ANY company) and determine which assets (parks) are worth keeping, and which are not.

 

The park will sell off lesser performing parks and the water parks that aren't attached to existing parks. I can see any potential buyer keeping SFOT, SFFT, SFAW, SFOG, SFGAm, SFGAdv, SFNE, SFMM and even parks like SFStL, SFEG and Wild Waves/Enchanted Village . This will position them in every geographic area, which is why keeping a few smaller parks would be a good idea.

 

This leaves SFA, SFDL, SFKK, SFMW and SFNO as the parks left out IMO.

 

Scenario 2:

 

The parks will be sold off individually with the most recognizable Six Flags parks being sold off as a group. This would be SFOT, SFMM, SFGAdv, SFGam, SFNE and SFOG with all other parks being sold off individually.

 

Either way, if this happens, Six Flags, as we know it will not be the same.

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Im not very surprised. It's really hard to put a finger on what is Six Flags main problem. I've been to several Six Flags parks and thought the best were SFOT and SFStL. The worst being SFAW and SFA.

 

All SF parks have *something* worth going for. As much as I hated SFA's overall operations in every department, I'd have a few bad hours to ride SROS, Roar, and Wild One. Plus if I ever started forgetting why my home park Hersheypark is so great, I could always take a drive down to the Balt/DC Beltway and remember how aweseme Hershey is.

 

Well, Im sure they will keep some of the parks, obviously they've been pumping TONS of money into SFGAdv in the recent years, and SFOG, SFOT, and SFMM are the cream of the SF crop. I remember reading somewhere that SFDL was actually the park that had the largest profits because of the concerts that are held there all summer. Not sure if thats true..

 

Anyways, should be interesting to see how this all unfolds. I doubt Cedar Fair is willing to take a gamble on buying another property yet.. but who knows.

 

Eric

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Cedar Fair will definitely pass, they will not buy the whole chain, now if parks were being pieced out thats another story entirely.

 

A Texas park and SFOG would fit very well into CP, but I am not sure they would buy SFOG unless they coudl actually BUY SFOG, not lease it as Six Flag's does now.

 

I think it is pretty safe to say that the main money maker in the chain is SFGAM, at least for this year anyway. IMO that park is definitely the crown jewel of SFI.

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I highly doubt that Six Flags Over Georgia is on the table, and the same for Over Texas, though a Texas park would fit well for Cedar Fair. However, the only one I can fathom them picking up is Fiesta Texas (Since Over Texas is the original, Astroworld is such a dump), and it seems to do fairly well in the books so I'm not sure SF Inc. would part with it.

 

I think Six Flags New England could fit well too, being a park in the relatively un-corporate North East. However, if parks are sold, I think they will be split up among numerous buyers.

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Maybe someone will buy SFDL and finally do something with it.. Because its popular around here... everyone goes to it because the only other good parks around are CP and Hershey and those are still about 4 hours away. The concerts held at Darien are a plus, because they are major artists that come all season long... and you can get into the park for cheap if u go to a concert..

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