Amusement parks Six Flags and Cedar Fair, which owns Knott's Berry Farm, merging in $8B deal

ByJordan Valinsky, CNNWire
Thursday, November 2, 2023
Six Flags and Cedar Fair, which owns Knott's, merge in $8B deal
Amusement park giants Six Flags and Cedar Fair, which operates Knott's Berry Farm, are merging in an $8 billion deal.

Amusement parks Six Flags and Cedar Fair are merging in an $8 billion deal that creates a theme park powerhouse across North America.

The companies control 27 amusement parks and 15 water parks between them across the US, Canada and Mexico. Six Flags and Cedar Fair operate in different parts of the North America, so a combined company could help them better manage seasonal dips in park attendance.

In addition to Cedar Point, its flagship theme park in Sandusky, Ohio, Cedar Fair owns Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California, Schlitterbahn water park in Texas and Canada's Wonderland in Ontario. Six Flags primarily operates under its own banner with about 20 parks in the US, two in Mexico and one in Canada.

Cedar Fair said the combined company will allow management to ramp up investments in the parks, which should help boost demand.

The new company will keep the Six Flags name, but will trade under Cedar Fair's stock ticker FUN.

Merging the companies gives them scale amid the consumer cutting back their spending, climate change, and well-known rivals like SeaWorld, Comcast-owned Universal Studios and Disney, with the latter recently announcing a $60 billion investment in its parks.

Attendance at theme parks are struggling since the pandemic. Wait times for rides and attractions and Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando in Florida were short this summer for several reasons, including extreme weather and heat in Florida, a waning post-pandemic travel boom and a tense political climate in Florida that has prompted travel warnings from some groups.

Combining the companies will result in $200 million in cost savings, according to their projections, with more than half of those savings coming from administrative and operational cost savings. It's also forecast to generate $3.4 billion in revenue.

Cedar Fair (FUN) shareholders will get one share of stock of the newly combined company for each share owned, and Six Flags (SIX) shareholders will receive 0.58 shares for every share currently owned.