Six Flags and Knott’s Berry Farm Owner Cedar Fair Complete Merger, Creating Theme Park Behemoth

The theme park industry has witnessed significant growth, with the merger of two prominent players, Six Flags Entertainment Corporation and Cedar Fair, forming a $8 billion live experiences behemoth. This combination now boasts ownership of 27 theme parks, 15 water parks, 9 hotels and resorts, as well as safaris, marinas, and other properties across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Richard Zimmerman, the president and CEO of Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, expressed enthusiasm for this development, stating, “Today marks a significant milestone for our company, shareholders, guests and associates, unlocking higher value and greater opportunities to deliver engaging entertainment experiences.”

With this merger, the companies now possess more parks in popular tourist destinations such as Florida, Texas, and California. These parks can remain operational year-round, providing stability when other parks in the Northeast and Midwest are closed during the winter. Both companies plan to make use of their licensed intellectual properties within their parks. Six Flags holds rights to characters from DC Comics and Looney Tunes, while Cedar Fair controls rights to the Peanuts universe.

The new company, renamed Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, will trade under the ticker “FUN” on the New York Stock Exchange. Most of its senior executives will be current Cedar Fair executives, with Richard Zimmerman assuming the role of CEO. Selim Bassoul, who previously served as CEO of Six Flags, will serve as the executive chairman of the company.

Post-COVID, the theme park industry has flourished, with competitors such as The Walt Disney Co. and NBCUniversal investing billions to expand their park businesses. Disney plans to execute major expansions in both California and Florida, and also add more cruise ships, while Universal is set to open a huge new park in Orlando next year and a smaller, more family-focused park in Texas, a location that will directly compete with the new Six Flags Entertainment Corporation.

Despite having smaller parks in comparison to Disney or Universal parks in Florida and California, the new Six Flags Entertainment Corporation can capitalize on its extensive entertainment portfolio spread across the country. CEO Zimmerman stated, “Our merger establishes a new Six Flags Entertainment Corporation with a highly diversified footprint and robust operating model, enhancing park offerings and performance though the complementary portfolio of attractive assets and intellectual property from each of Cedar Fair and the former Six Flags.” Executive chairman Selim Bassoul emphasized, “We believe that by combining the best ideas and most successful entertainment practices of both Six Flags and Cedar Fair, the new Six Flags can deliver a superior level of joy and excitement that has yet to be experienced by regional park guests.”

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