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Knott’s Berry Farm Owner Cedar Fair Completes Deal

Knott’s Berry Farm Owner Cedar Fair Completes Deal

The theme park business has a new giant.

Six Flags and Cedar Fair have completed their $8 billion merger, creating a live experiences behemoth that owns 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.

“Today marks a significant milestone for our company, shareholders, guests and associates, unlocking higher value and greater opportunities to deliver engaging entertainment experiences,” said Richard Zimmerman, president and chief executive officer of Six Flags Entertainment Corporation. “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.”

The companies originally announced their plan to merge last year.

Cedar Fair owns Knott’s Berry Farm in Anaheim and Cedar Point in Ohio, among other properties. Six Flags owns Six Flags Over Texas, Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia California, among others.

The companies noted that by combining they will have far more parks in locations like Florida, Texas and California, which can stay open year-round, helping to provide stability when their parks in the northeast, midwest close for the winter.

As The Hollywood Reporter previously noted, the companies plan to leverage their licensed intellectual property in their parks, with Six Flags holding a deal with Warner Bros. Discovery for rights to characters from DC Comics and Looney Tunes, and Cedar Fair controlling rights to the Peanuts universe.

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The new company will be called Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, and trade under the ticker “FUN” on the New York Stock Exchange. Most of its senior executives will be current Cedar Fair executives, including its incoming CEO Richard Zimmerman. Selim Bassoul, who had been CEO of Six Flags, will be executive chairman of the company.

Theme parks have become a booming business post-COVID, led by The Walt Disney Co. and NBCUniversal. Both of those companies are pouring billions into expanding their parks businesses, with Disney planning major expansions in both California and Florida, as well as adding more cruise ships; and Universal set top open a giant new park in Orlando next year, as well as a smaller more family-focused park in Texas (in Six Flags’ backyard).

The new Six Flags doesn’t have the scale of the Disney or Universal parks in Florida or California, but it will have far more parks spread across the country, including many far from Disney or Universal properties.

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