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Six Flags Entertainment (SIX) in Bid to Acquire Cedar Fair L.P. (FUN) - Reuters

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If the world is even still here in five years, I’d be surprised if Cedar Fair will have been able to repay the $1 B they borrowed with their parks put up as collateral.  Who knows? anyone who reads this could be the next lucky owner of a theme park.  They’re going to be going for pennies on the dollar. 

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I never, ever thought I'd say this.  But I'd probably not attend KI anymore if it fell under Six Flags.  My heart just couldn't take it. Their operations/upkeep/disregard for history is abysmal. 

I added our park to the Six Flags corporate logo just to see what it would look like. If you are easily frightened, look away now.      

Kings Island community last Friday, after reading about Vortex removal: Things couldn't possibly get any more upsetting... Six Flags: Hold my Batman souvenir cup. 

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I’ve actually been thinking about this recently. With the current economic climate and Six Flags’ existing financial troubles, I think it’s very possible Six Flags could sell a few parks in the next five years. They actually don’t own all their parks — some they lease from EPR Properties, some they lease from local governments, and some they own through partnership agreements. The following are the parks they own outright, so I assume the only parks they could potentially sell:

  • Magic Mountain
  • Great America
  • Great Adventure
  • Fiesta Texas
  • New England
  • Discovery Kingdom
  • St. Louis
  • America
  • Great Escape

I don’t think Six Flags would be interested in selling the top four, but I think everything from New England down could be on the table, for the right price. As far as Cedar Fair goes, they have competing parks in the same markets as Discovery Kingdom and America, so I don’t see any interest there (unless they want to pull a Geauga Lake — gut and close. The land under America is supposedly more valuable than the park itself, so it’s not necessarily out of the question).

That leaves New England, St. Louis, and Great Escape. I honestly think Great Escape would be a good buy for Cedar Fair. The lodge and indoor water park would be a nice source of year-round revenue for the company, and the park itself has room to grow. New England and St. Louis would also make solid additions to the middle tier of Cedar Fair parks, and would give the company access to new markets.

Under Cedar Fair ownership, I think you would see a few things — the removal of outdated rides and attractions, general park improvements to meet Cedar Fair standards, a larger focus on family attractions and non-ride experiences, and improved in-park guest services.

As far as theming, I think Cedar Fair has learned its lesson from the Paramount Parks. I think we would see the DC and Six Flags IPs replaced with more unique, local themes. Recent investor presentations have talked about creating authentic local charm at the parks, so I think we would see that approach at any new parks the company would acquire.  

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@139Signal27 you bring up a lot of interesting points including the Great Escape one. 

My main question would be if Cedar Fair aquired Six Flags America, how would that fare for Kings Dominion? The parks aren't that far from one another geographically so I'd be interested to see how thay would play out.

I do agree New England would also be a solid choice if it ever happened.

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Six Flags America is the interesting one. It’s notorious for being an awful park. The coaster lineup is weak, rides are constantly closed for maintenance, the staff is rude, and the park just isn’t very nice. From the outside, it seems like it would take a massive investment to bring that park up to Cedar Fair standards.

There’s also the issue of its location. The mid-Atlantic region has so many regional parks that competition is crazy. If Cedar Fair owned America, every addition would risk self-cannibalizing Kings Dominion and possibly Dorney Park. It’s also rumored that the land on which the park sits could be sold for a higher price to developers than the park is actually worth.

That park faces a lot of headwinds for any potential buyer, especially Cedar Fair. As unfortunate as it sounds, relocating any worthwhile assets, demolishing the remaining structures, and selling the land might be the most strategic move if Cedar Fair somehow acquired the park.

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From what I've heard, Six Flags America isn't that great of a park. All the people I know who live in the DC/ Baltimore region prefer to go to KD, or BGW. There's also some individuals who chose to trek to Great Adventure for their thrills.

 I wonder if gutting it and closing it would financially benefit any chain that would own it (whether that be Six Flags OR Cedar Fair). The east coast is oversaturated with parks in my opinion.

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