Nov 2, 2023 - Business

Carowinds’ parent company to merge with Six Flags and place HQ in Charlotte

carowinds aerial shot

US Airways from Miami, window seat, aerial view of an amusement park. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Carowinds’ parent company, Ohio-based Cedar Fair, is merging with Texas-based Six Flags.

What’s happening: The combined company will operate under the Six Flags name. Its headquarters will be in Charlotte near Carowinds, per the Wall Street Journal. 

Why it matters: The deal creates one of the largest amusement park operators in the world. It also means Charlotte is gaining another major corporate HQ.

By the numbers: The company has a combined revenue of about $3.4 billion.

 Details: The company will operate 27 amusement parks, 15 water parks and nine resorts across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, according to a company statement.

  • When the deal closes, Richard Zimmerman, president and CEO of Cedar Fair, will serve as president and CEO of the combined company.
  • The company will maintain “significant finance and administrative operations” in Sandusky, Ohio. 
  • The merged company will trade under the ticker FUN on the NYSE.

The merger is anticipated to close in the first half of 2024.

Of note: Six Flags did not receive incentives from North Carolina, South Carolina, the city of Charlotte or Mecklenburg County to move the headquarters here, representatives from each area confirmed to Axios. 

Flashback: Cedar Fair rejected Six Flags’ $4 billion buyout offer in 2019. In 2022, SeaWorld tried to purchase Cedar Fair for a reported $3.4 billion. 

What we’re watching: It’s still unclear how many jobs the merger will create in Charlotte, as well as where the new headquarters will be.

The intrigue: Six Flags has struggled to rebound from the pandemic, becoming what current Six Flags president and CEO Selim Bassoul called “a day care center for teenagers,” as Axios Dallas reported

  • But theme parks are a staple of American entertainment, from class field trips to family vacations.

What they’re saying: “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 in a statement.

Axios Dallas thought bubble: “What’s Six Flags without Texas?” ーTasha Tsiaperas, reporter 

“Six Flags is still an institution here, but it’s gone way down hill.” Michael Mooney, reporter

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