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Six Flags / Cedar Fair Merger Announced

MaxxForceFan

Roller Poster
https://investors.sixflags.com/news-and-events/press-releases/2024/06-18-2024-120108856

June 18, 2024

SANDUSKY, Ohio & ARLINGTON, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Cedar Fair, L.P. (NYSE: FUN) (“Cedar Fair”) and Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE: SIX) (“Six Flags”), today announced that they notified the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) that the closing of Cedar Fair and Six Flags’ previously announced merger of equals (the “Mergers”) is expected to occur on July 1, 2024 (the “Expected Closing Date”). The completion of the Mergers is subject to the satisfaction or waiver of a number of conditions set forth in the merger agreement relating to the Mergers, including the satisfaction of regulatory conditions.

Six Flags today additionally announced that its Board of Directors has declared a special dividend of $1.53 per share of Six Flags common stock. The dividend is payable on July 1, 2024 to stockholders of record of Six Flags as of June 28, 2024 who hold their shares through the closing of the Mergers. The special dividend is conditioned on the closing of the Mergers and is being declared in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement. Accordingly, the record date and payment date may change based on the actual closing date of the Mergers.

Until the Mergers are complete, Cedar Fair’s units and Six Flags’ common stock will continue to trade on the NYSE. Upon the closing of the Mergers, (i) Cedar Fair’s units, which currently trade on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “FUN” and (ii) Six Flags’ common stock, which currently trade on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “SIX,” will cease to be listed on the NYSE following the closing of the Mergers and will each be deregistered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Immediately following the closing of the Mergers, the combined company will be renamed “Six Flags Entertainment Corporation” and trading of the combined company’s common stock on the NYSE is expected to begin on the day following the Expected Closing Date, July 2, 2024, under the ticker symbol “FUN.”

https://investors.sixflags.com/news-and-events/press-releases/2024/06-18-2024-120509559

June 18, 2024

SANDUSKY, Ohio & ARLINGTON, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Cedar Fair, L.P. (NYSE: FUN) (“Cedar Fair”) and Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE: SIX) (“Six Flags”), today announced the senior management team that will lead the combined company following the completion of their previously announced merger of equals (the “Mergers”).

As previously announced, upon closing of the transaction, Richard Zimmerman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cedar Fair, will serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of the combined company and Selim Bassoul, President and Chief Executive Officer of Six Flags, will serve as Executive Chairman of the combined company’s Board of Directors.

After completion of the Mergers, the following leaders will report to Zimmerman in the combined company:

Tim Fisher, Chief Operating Officer (currently in same position at Cedar Fair)

Brian Witherow, Chief Financial Officer (currently in same position at Cedar Fair)

Brian Nurse, Chief Legal & Compliance Officer, and Corporate Secretary (currently in same position at Cedar Fair)

Christian Dieckmann, Chief Strategy Officer (currently in same position at Cedar Fair)

Gary Mick, Chief Integration Officer (currently Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Six Flags)

“We are fortunate to have a proven team of leaders who bring decades of park operating experience and significant expertise in integrating businesses and achieving synergy targets for the combined company,” said Zimmerman. “Their insights and complementary skill sets will be instrumental as we combine two of North America’s iconic amusement park companies and forge a new future together.”

The closing of the Mergers is expected to occur on July 1, 2024, subject to satisfaction or waiver of a number of conditions set forth in the merger agreement, including the satisfaction of regulatory conditions. Upon closing of the transaction, the combined company will operate under the name Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, trade under the ticker symbol “FUN” on the NYSE, and be structured as a C Corporation. The combined company will be headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and will maintain significant finance and administrative operations in Sandusky, Ohio.
 

Gargamel

Roller Poster
I assume all parks have planned their 2025 seasons out prior to the merger, so I guess in the 2026 season we’ll really see the impact this will have on all of the parks
 

emoo

Hyper Poster
I think 2025 is the opening year for the 2024 attractions.

Cedar Fair are still going ahead with this merger 🤔
 

DelPiero

Strata Poster
This looks like it might really happen this time.

Wow!

Here's a map of north america from coast to coaster showing every park with at least 2 "extreme" level coasters (this seems like a decent enough proxy for a "roller coaster park").

The red tags are the current 26 combined "Cedar Flags" properties.

Geographic DOMINANCE!

The sad thing is that apart from Cedar Point, none of the parks would get near my top 5 parks in the US.
Dollywood, Silver Dollar City, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Busch Gardens Tampa, Universal IOA and Hersheypark are all leagues above.

I have zero confidence they will make the parks good, they just will own them all. Time will tell if they continue to invest as they have separately.
 

witchfinder

Giga Poster
When I look at that map, I don't see dominance, I see a lot of parks in close proximity competing with each other. That seems likely to result in the smaller SF/CF parks being starved of investment (possibly moreso than they have been to date) and ultimately sold off or even closed.

If they tried to buy/merge with SeaWorld then that would definitely look more like geographic dominance, though only in the States which is hardly the entire world :D
 

Steely Dan

Mega Poster
The sad thing is that apart from Cedar Point, none of the parks would get near my top 5 parks in the US.
Dollywood, Silver Dollar City, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Busch Gardens Tampa, Universal IOA and Hersheypark are all leagues above.

Well yeah, both six flags and cedar Fair have historically veered much more in the "thrills over themes" direction of the industry.

The other parks you mention are considerably more balanced.

Still, the sheer number of parks, should this merger be ok'd, is pretty startling to me.
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
I have zero confidence they will make the parks good, they just will own them all. Time will tell if they continue to invest as they have separately.
In the areas where they are only competing against themselves, where they previously were competing against each other, I'd expect total stagnation. Market cornered, no need to try, just do the Parques Reunidos thing and see how far they can cut the costs before things literally fall apart, then do another cost analysis on whether things falling apart is actually a bad thing.

Heck, in some places I'd even expect negative investments when old, huge thrill coasters reach the end of their lifetimes, and are replaced with smaller, cheaper-to-run family coasters.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
In the areas where they are only competing against themselves, where they previously were competing against each other, I'd expect total stagnation. Market cornered, no need to try, just do the Parques Reunidos thing and see how far they can cut the costs before things literally fall apart, then do another cost analysis on whether things falling apart is actually a bad thing.

Heck, in some places I'd even expect negative investments when old, huge thrill coasters reach the end of their lifetimes, and are replaced with smaller, cheaper-to-run family coasters.
This might not necessarily end up being the case. Cedar Fair were already pretty much competing with themselves in the state of Ohio, yet that hasn’t stopped them from investing heavily into Cedar Point and Kings Island.
 

Steely Dan

Mega Poster
CP and KI are still a fair distance from each other, with their own separate major metropolitan area "anchor markets" (Cleveland and Detroit for CP, Cincy and Dayton for KI).

As the map I posted shows, the true overlap markets are LA (SFMM & KBF) the bay area (SFDK & CGA), DC (SFA & KD), and NYC/Philly (SFGAdv & Dorney).

I will not at all be surprised if we see some attrition in those markets.
 
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Matt N

CF Legend
CP and KI are still a fair distance from each other, with their own separate major metropolitan area "anchor markets" (Cleveland and Detroit for CP, Cincy and Dayton for KI).

As the map I posted shows, the true overlap markets are LA (SFMM & KBF) the bay area (SFDK & CGA), DC (SFA & KD), and NYC/Philly (SFGAdv & Dorney).

I will not at all be surprised if we see some attrition in those markets.
It’s worth noting that in three of those four markets, there is arguably some other competition existing:
  • In LA, you have SeaWorld San Diego not too far away, as well as Disney and Universal.
  • In NYC/Philadelphia, you have Hersheypark and Kennywood relatively nearby.
  • Around Washington DC, you have Busch Gardens Williamsburg quite close by.
Out of those four, it’s only really Northern California where the merged company will compete with itself when neither company did before, and California’s Great America is on the chopping block before too long anyway, is it not?

There’s a surprising number of states and regions where Six Flags and Cedar Fair did not compete with each other, if you actually look at a map, so this merger shouldn’t make too much difference aside from in a few places.
 

Hyde

Matt SR
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
A caution to European and English friends (and something I've noticed over time) - there can be an accidental fallacy in underestimating how actually large the United States is, and proximity of amusement parks. :p

To earlier points, the genuine market overlap is in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and greater New York/Philadelphia region. But, a helpful guide for if that's true oversaturation is looking at sports teams, which you'll notice also have similar overlap.

For example, let's take a look at Major League Baseball and National Football League maps:


2022-MLB-Map.jpg


2022-NFL-Map.jpg


Notice the same Southern California and New York/Philadelphia clustering?
 

Matt N

CF Legend
A caution to European and English friends (and something I've noticed over time) - there can be an accidental fallacy in underestimating how actually large the United States is, and proximity of amusement parks. :p

To earlier points, the genuine market overlap is in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and greater New York/Philadelphia region. But, a helpful guide for if that's true oversaturation is looking at sports teams, which you'll notice also have similar overlap.

For example, let's take a look at Major League Baseball and National Football League maps:


2022-MLB-Map.jpg


2022-NFL-Map.jpg


Notice the same Southern California and New York/Philadelphia clustering?
Do you feel that this will have a worse impact on the Six Flags/Cedar Fair parks than some are picturing, or do you think that this is a reason why the impact won’t be as bad as some are picturing?

I personally think the latter, as other competition also exists in many of the areas where Six Flags and Cedar Fair directly compete, but I could be wrong.

I do agree that we Europeans can have a tendency to underestimate the sheer size of America, though; it probably doesn’t help when I hear Americans talk about “the NYC/Philly cluster” as though it’s a cluster of parks that are very, very close together like, say, the UK Merlin parks around London. But in many cases, these parks are still a couple of hours’ drive apart! Do Americans have a greater tolerance for long distance driving than Brits and Europeans, I wonder?
 

Steely Dan

Mega Poster
Do Americans have a greater tolerance for long distance driving than Brits and Europeans, I wonder?

From my (limited) anecdotal experiences, I think there is likely some truth to that.

But that's not evidence or anything, just a general and subjective impression.

And at the risk of driving the car right over the edge of off-topic cliff, here's my favorite personal story of a Brit not comprehending the physical size of the US and its features.

(Mods, feel free to delete/move if this is a bridge too far)



My british friend's parents were visiting Chicago (and the US midwest) for the very first time. I took the family up to Milwaukee for a little day-trip. Upon arriving at the Milwaukee Art Museum right on the lakeshore, my friend's dad looked out across the vast blue expanse of Lake Michigan and remarked:


friend's dad: "my god, another unfathomably large lake just like the one down in Chicago. these great lakes truly are remarkable, we've nothing like them back in blighty."

me: "oh no, this is still the same lake as the one down in chicago, it's all Lake Michigan."

friend's dad: "you mean we've just been traveling for a couple of hours on the motorway and we're still along the shore of the same lake? unbelievable! exactly how large is this lake?"

me: "about 300 miles long in the north-south direction."

friend's dad: "bloody hell! 300 miles long! that's almost the length of england itself! and you yanks call this vast sea a mere lake?"

me: "well, it's all freshwater....... and there are 4 more of them to boot."

friend's dad: "unbelievable." <shaking his head in disbelief as he stared out across the water>


He had some prior awareness that the great lakes were big, but when we traveled from Chicago up to Milwaukee, he assumed that we had traveled from a city on one great lake to another city on a different great lake; his mind had come nowhere close to wrapping itself around the true size and scale of the Great Lakes, because back home in Britain, what he knew as "lakes" were relative puddles in comparison to a body of water like Lake Michigan.
 

Hyde

Matt SR
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
From my (limited) anecdotal experiences, I think there is likely some truth to that.

But that's not evidence or anything, just a general and subjective impression.

And at the risk of driving the car right over the edge of off-topic cliff, here's my favorite personal story of a Brit not comprehending the physical size of the US and its features.

(Mods, feel free to delete/move if this is a bridge too far)



My british friend's parents were visiting Chicago (and the US midwest) for the very first time. I took the family up to Milwaukee for a little day-trip. Upon arriving at the Milwaukee Art Museum right on the lakeshore, my friend's dad looked out across the vast blue expanse of Lake Michigan and remarked:


friend's dad: "my god, another unfathomably large lake just like the one down in Chicago. these great lakes truly are remarkable, we've nothing like them back in blighty."

me: "oh no, this is still the same lake as the one down in chicago, it's all Lake Michigan."

friend's dad: "you mean we've just been traveling for a couple of hours on the motorway and we're still along the shore of the same lake? unbelievable! exactly how large is this lake?"

me: "about 300 miles long in the north-south direction."

friend's dad: "bloody hell! 300 miles long! that's almost the length of england itself! and you yanks call this vast sea a mere lake?"

me: "well, it's all freshwater....... and there are 4 more of them to boot."

friend's dad: "unbelievable." <shaking his head in disbelief as he stared out across the water>


He had some prior awareness that the great lakes were big, but when we traveled from Chicago up to Milwaukee, he assumed that we had traveled from a city on one great lake to another city on a different great lake; his mind had come nowhere close to wrapping itself around the true size and scale of the Great Lakes, because back home in Britain, what he knew as "lakes" were relative puddles in comparison to a body of water like Lake Michigan.
Hah well said. The simplest way to describe the US is many small countries, with significant population density, that add up to a larger country. Yes, there is a certain, larger-scale to the American road trip.

Do you feel that this will have a worse impact on the Six Flags/Cedar Fair parks than some are picturing, or do you think that this is a reason why the impact won’t be as bad as some are picturing?

I personally think the latter, as other competition also exists in many of the areas where Six Flags and Cedar Fair directly compete, but I could be wrong.

I do agree that we Europeans can have a tendency to underestimate the sheer size of America, though; it probably doesn’t help when I hear Americans talk about “the NYC/Philly cluster” as though it’s a cluster of parks that are very, very close together like, say, the UK Merlin parks around London. But in many cases, these parks are still a couple of hours’ drive apart! Do Americans have a greater tolerance for long distance driving than Brits and Europeans, I wonder?
Only time will tell, but it could be a take of two park chains. To my earlier point, there isn’t necessarily significant competition between SF and CF parks; Dorney Park/SFGadv or SFDK/CGA pulled from larger metropolitan areas that do have populations to support multi-amusement parks for instance.

But, there is no denying what a large merger this is, and how it could still spell stagnation for small, local parks that no longer have need for trickling investment to keep up with a neighboring SF or CF park (back to Dorney Park, for instance). Could we rather see investments shifted to parks in tourism areas in league and competition with Hershend, Disney, Universal, or other attraction draw? Perhaps.

I trust the Cedar Fair leadership taking over the Six Flags healm, but the capitalistic lure of squeezing revenue out of “efficiencies” and staggering out investments will always be a threat. Just look at SFA’s new “area”.
 

InvertsAreMyJam

Mega Poster
So, is this going to worsen the quality of Cedar Fair parks or increase the quality of Six Flags parks? Because from what I’ve heard, Six Flags parks aren’t exactly the greatest…
 

TPoseOnTantrum

Giga Poster
So, is this going to worsen the quality of Cedar Fair parks or increase the quality of Six Flags parks? Because from what I’ve heard, Six Flags parks aren’t exactly the greatest…
We'll have to see. Hopefully they can share each's strengths instead of their weaknesses. Not that I see Cedar Fair getting rid of iROC anytime soon...
 
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