CHARLOTTE, N.C. and SANDUSKY, Ohio (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The parent company of Carowinds and Six Flags announced their merger Thursday, making a powerhouse in the theme park industry.
According to a press release from Six Flags and Cedar Fair Entertainment, the companies came to a $2 billion deal.
Together, the company will own 27 amusement parks, 15 water parks, and nine resorts across 17 states, Canada, and Mexico.
In addition to Charlotte’s Carowinds, Cedar Fair also owns Cedar Point and Kings Island in Ohio and Kings Dominion outside of Richmond, Virginia
“This is the largest merger and acquisition in our industry, ever,” International Theme Park Services CEO Dennis Speigel said. “Let me say this is a win, win, win situation.”
Speigel has been in the theme park industry for more than five decades. He says both companies will be able to combine marketing powers and brands that will not only help their bottom line, but also their customers.
“It is going to create this national brand that allows them to make offers and promotions that they never could before, and we have never seen on this scale in our industry,” he said.
The companies are two of the largest chains in the nation and the newly combined company will be worth around $3.5 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.
According to the release, the combined company will be headquartered in Charlotte. The corporate name of the company will be Six Flags, and Cedar Fair’s Richard Zimmerman will be CEO. Six Flags CEO Selim Bassoul will be the executive chairman.
“Our merger with Six Flags will bring together two of North America’s iconic amusement park companies to establish a highly diversified footprint and a more robust operating model to enhance park offerings and performance,” Zimmerman said. “I have great respect for the Six Flags team and look forward to joining forces as we embark on this next chapter together.”
“The combination of Six Flags and Cedar Fair will redefine our guests’ amusement park experience as we combine the best of both companies,” Bassoul said. “We are excited to unite the Cedar Fair and Six Flags teams to capitalize on the tremendous growth opportunities and operational efficiencies of our combined platform for the benefit of our guests, shareholders, employees, and other stakeholders.”
Cedar Fair shareholder will own about 51.2 percent of the combined company.
According to the release, the newly merged company expects to see about $200 million in benefits from the deal, including $120 million in administrative and operational costs to be cut within two years.
This is not the first time Cedar Fair and Six Flags have crossed paths. In 2019, Cedar Fair rejected a $4 billion offer from Six Flags.
In 2022, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment made an unsolicited offer to purchase all Cedar Fair parks for $3.4 billion.
“Considering Cedar Fair has shot down other deals in the past, what do you think made this time different?” Queen City News asked Speigel.
“They see the wisdom of bringing this together and creating this ‘park-o-saurus.’ It’s going to be huge,” he said.
The merger is expected to close in the first half of 2024.