Nov 7, 2023 - News

Six Flags-Cedar Fair merger to impact 4 California theme parks

The Joker's Jinx roller coaster at Six Flags amusement park in Upper Marlboro, Md., in October 2022. Photo: Michael Connor for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The merger of Six Flags Entertainment and Cedar Fair is set to establish one of the largest theme park operators in North America.

Why it matters: The companies are seeking to join forces at a time when the theme park industry is still struggling to recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic.

Driving the news: The companies described the deal as a "merger of equals," giving the new entity — which will be named Six Flags — an enterprise value of $8 billion.

The big picture: "The theme-park industry is struggling to rebound from the pandemic, when many parks were closed or operated under restrictions," WSJ reported. "While demand in other hard-hit industries such as cruising has surged past pre-pandemic levels, attendance at U.S. theme parks hasn't yet gotten there."

  • Six Flags shares are down more than 62% over the last five years, while Cedar Fair shares are down more than 30%.
  • Their combined attendance over the last 12 months was 48 million.

What to watch: The deal will need to past muster with regulators, but the companies said they "have minimal market overlap."

Flashback: Cedar Fair announced last June that it had sold the land currently occupied by Great America, which it operates, to pay off existing debt amid lagging attendance.

  • The park is expected to close permanently by 2033.
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