Six Flags (owner of Jackson park) and Cedar Fair plan to merge in $8B deal creating leading amusement park operator

Combined company will create portfolio of 42 iconic parks and 9 resort properties across 17 states, Canada and Mexico

Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson will have a new owner — after a fashion. Two of the country’s largest amusement park operators — Texas-based Six Flags Entertainment Corp. and Ohio-based Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. on Thursday announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement to combine in a merger of equals transaction.

The all-stock deal will value the combined businesses at about $8 billion, including debt, and will create one of the biggest theme park operators in the Americas.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, Cedar Fair unitholders will receive one share of common stock in the new combined company for each unit owned, and Six Flags shareholders will receive 0.5800 shares of common stock in the new combined company for each share owned.

The merger is expected to close in the first half of 2024, following receipt of Six Flags shareholder approval, regulatory approvals and satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Approval by Cedar Fair unitholders is not required.

Following the close of the transaction, Cedar Fair unitholders will own approximately 51.2%, and Six Flags shareholders will own approximately 48.8% of the combined company’s fully diluted share capital on a pro forma basis.

“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,” Richard Zimmerman, CEO and president of Cedar Fair, said. “Together, we will have an expanded and complementary portfolio of attractive assets and intellectual property to deliver engaging entertainment experiences for guests. The combination also creates an enhanced financial profile with strong cash flow generation to accelerate investments in our parks to delight our guests, driving increased levels of demand and in-park value and spending. 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,” Selim Bassoul, CEO and president of Six Flags, said. “Six Flags and Cedar Fair share a strong cultural alignment, operating philosophy and steadfast commitment to providing consumers with thrilling experiences. By combining our operational models and technology platforms, we expect to accelerate our transformation activities and unlock new potential for our parks. 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.”

The combined company will operate a portfolio of 27 amusement parks, 15 water parks and nine resort properties across 17 states in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The companies’ complementary portfolio will include some of the most iconic parks in North America, with significant brand equity and loyal, recurring guest bases within the highly competitive leisure space. The combined company also will have entertainment partnerships and a portfolio of beloved intellectual property such as Looney Tunes, DC Comics and Peanuts to develop engaging new attractions enabled by compelling characters, environments and storytelling.

The portfolio also will include diversified experiences for guests, including safaris and animal experiences, campgrounds, sports facilities and luxury lounges, enabling the combined company to better meet rising consumer demand for varied and engaging entertainment options.

Upon closing of the transaction, the combined company will operate under the name Six Flags and trade under the ticker symbol FUN on the New York Stock Exchange and will be structured as a C-corporation. The combined company will be headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and will maintain significant finance and administrative operations in Sandusky, Ohio.