Cedar Fair to acquire Paramount Parks

Posted Monday, May 22, 2006 9:18 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Cedar Fair, L.P. today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement for the acquisition of the Paramount Parks. Cedar Fair, L.P. will acquire the stock of Paramount Parks, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation for a cash purchase price of $1.24 billion.

Read the press release from Cedar Fair.

Monday, May 22, 2006 10:49 AM
And for Knott's, too, Gemini. I just hope PGA gets some actual "creative" coasters, now that the Coaster Genius has taken over.
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Monday, May 22, 2006 10:57 AM
I would take it Cedar Fair found the Paramount parks better than the Six Flags parks since both were on the chopping block recently. I think this is a risky move, this sort of purchasing is what did in Six Flags' old managment.
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Monday, May 22, 2006 10:57 AM
Nate... Since when does Will Koch work for Cedar Fair? ;)*** This post was edited by redman822 5/22/2006 10:58:25 AM ***
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Monday, May 22, 2006 10:58 AM
Um, WOW!

I wish the season passes worked right away though. Opening so many new ideas, I can't wait!

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Monday, May 22, 2006 10:59 AM
The other interesting question will be how well CF's management style scales.
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Monday, May 22, 2006 10:59 AM
PGA is really the most lacking in the chain, followed by PKD and PCar.
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Monday, May 22, 2006 11:02 AM
Anyone have a link to the listen-only conference call? I'm having trouble finding it on the site.
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Monday, May 22, 2006 11:04 AM
janfrederick's avatar I don't think they would sell off Great America for the land at the moment because I have a feeling there's an excess of office space in the area. I'm not sure they would be able to re-zone for housing...but who knows?

What I'm really interested in knowing is how this will affect the management agreement they have in place with Bonfante Gardens. They could probably still use a big brother...and I'd imagine CF would do right by the little park. Here's to hoping.

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Monday, May 22, 2006 11:07 AM
This would be the greatest season pass ever....

But like everyone else, I hope this means good things for the Paramount parks. I have fond memories of Kings Island, but it's been pretty sorry for several years now. I'd love to see it improved upon.

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Monday, May 22, 2006 11:09 AM
Good point, Redman. Here's to The Voyage!
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Monday, May 22, 2006 11:12 AM
Well, they can start by shipping 38 coaster cars to PTC for a complete overhaul. But something tells me that we are not going to see the same kind of wholesale overhaul at the Paramount parks that we saw at Geauga Lake.

Face it, Geauga Lake was a basket-case when Cedar Fair bought it. It was filthy, it was in disrepair, and the park had actively run off most of its regular customers. It was necessary for Cedar Fair to move in there and make huge changes, to a park with almost no infrastructure in place. And they did a fairly nice job of it.

This situation is different. To begin with, there is a much longer transition period...the parks won't start to behave like Cedar Fair parks until next season, most likely. All of the parks are in pretty good shape, and Paramount has a respectable operations and maintenance group. In fact, in many ways, Paramount has a better infrastructure in place than Cedar Fair does. Cedar Fair is buying the whole chain, and there is a lot that can come with that.

I wouldn't be surprised if we see all new signs on the ride entrances and some revisions to park operations...and not a lot else changes. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if they even retain the current master plans for the parks. This isn't Cedar Fair riding to the rescue. This is Cedar Fair ponying up the cash to buy a successful business (Kings Island usually out-draws Cedar Point!) that the big conglomerate just didn't want to bother with anymore.

Caveat: What do I know? I'm the one who was hoping that Paramount Parks would be bought out by an internal management group...!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Monday, May 22, 2006 11:14 AM
>> 3)Will they sell off Great America for the land?

Doubtful. Although the economy is picking up in the Bay Area, they're still giving away office space here. The huge office building at the PGA exit was still sitting empty last time I looked. I doubt CF would get much for the land at this point unless Santa Clara rezoned for residential.

I just saw an ad for SFMW this morning. It consisted almost entirely of images of superheroes and animals. Only one passing shot of Medusa.

It'll be interesting how this works out -- will CF continue to spin CFGA as a "family park" if SFMW does the same thing? Will CF drop the GA name to avoid brand confusion?

As much as I'm personally excited that CF might inject some much needed "thrills" into PGA, I am bummed about the lack of competition.

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Monday, May 22, 2006 11:15 AM
Brian,

Baltimore, Washington DC. I just wanted to throw out 2 of the cities between Dorney and PKD, that you find not so major(With one of them having a Six Flags park).

As for the ride make up at the newly aquired, Paramount Parks;

Look for these names changes:

All Hurlers will now be renamed Thunderhawks.

All Top Guns will now be renamed Talons, or maybe Raptors.

SOB will be renamed Meaner Streak

Beast will actually keep it's name, becasue Cedar Fair cares about high profile rides like The Beast.

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Monday, May 22, 2006 11:18 AM
They can't sell off the land at PGA because they don't own it. It's owned by the city and leased by whichever company is running a park there, and the land has to be used for an amusement park, unless the city of Santa Clara changes its mind. That all happened when Mariott decided to get out of the business.

In the very short term, I would expect to see CBS stock go up and CF stock to go down on the news, but FUN should rebound quite nicely in a couple of days.

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Monday, May 22, 2006 11:20 AM
janfrederick's avatar I agree. I have a feeling they'll go with the it ain't broke approach. I was surprised by the numbers in the reports...they did practically the same business (guests and revenue).

Anyway, it is interesting that CF is acquiring the newest parks yet. Weren't all the Paramount parks opened in the 70's? Is Michegan's adventure or Knott's older? Anyway, just thought it was interesting.

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Monday, May 22, 2006 11:25 AM
Looks like I'll be purchasing both Six Flags and Cedar Fair season passes on an annual basis. I hope Cedar Fair does very well in their acquisition.

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Monday, May 22, 2006 11:27 AM

Baltimore, Washington DC. I just wanted to throw out 2 of the cities between Dorney and PKD, that you find not so major

With so many parks closer (Hersheypark, SFA, PKD), and a much higher profile park about the same distance (BGW), I'd be suprised if Baltimare and DC are more than a blip in DP's market.

I'm happy to be proven wrong, but I'm not convinced that people go that far out of their way for "just another amusement park."

Columbus is different in that it is nearly equidistant.*** This post was edited by Brian Noble 5/22/2006 11:28:08 AM ***

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Monday, May 22, 2006 11:32 AM
Some quick notes so far...

They won't be looking for future acquisitions over the next few years (ie Six Flags) unless something incredible falls in their lap.

Nickelodeon license is good for next 4 years at Paramount Parks and there is an option to extend to Cedar Fair parks at additional costs if they choose to do so.

Management at all Paramount Parks will be reviewed. No commitments were made one way or the other.

Movie tie-in contracts are being reviewed.

Star Trek-The Experience WAS included in the purchase price.

Those are the operating highlights thus far.

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Monday, May 22, 2006 11:34 AM
JanFrederick,

Knotts is much older (1920) than MiA (1988).

PKI (1972), PCW(1981), PKD (1975), PCA (1973), PGA (1976)

CP (1870), DP (1884), VF (1976), WoF (1973), GL (1888)...

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Monday, May 22, 2006 11:35 AM
Any guesses as to which nostalgic ride gets the axe first by Cedar Fair?
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