Conspiracy Theory: Snyder and Magic Mountain

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:20 AM
I'm not one for these kind of discussions, but I found it an interesting theory when I picked it up at another forum.

I don't have the immediate link to the article (I'm hoping another member here has read it too), but it stated that when shares of SIX plunged as a result of these announcements about the potential sale of six properties and the company having problems with its banks, Snyder snapped up some 500,000 shares, bringing his stake in the company up from 11% to 12%. Was it a spur of the moment decision?

Some people are suggesting these "threats" to sell off the 6 parks is nothing more than a ploy: to temporarily drop the price of shares so Snyder can buy them up just as shareholders are selling them off in an anxious panic. Then, when the time is right, make the announcement that the company will plan to keep some of those six parks and reinvest in them, bringing the value of the shares back up again.

What occurs out of this? (1) Snyder's stake in the company grows from his acquiring more shares at a very low price, (2) then makes a lot of money when the share values go back up, (3) all the free press those six properties are getting, especially Magic Mountain, which is a high profile park --- just imagine all the people rushing to the park to get in "one last visit" before it "closes," causing an abnormal spike in attendance which would never occur with run-of-the-mill advertising...

Any comments or thoughts? Don't take this too seriously...just a fun theory to toy around with...

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:41 AM
It's from Screamscape, no one with an ounce of sense buys into it and it's already being discussed here. :)
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 2:12 AM
^ The Screamscape commentary didn't mention the half-million shares Snyder snapped after the stock tanked. I mean, doesn't it strike ANY ONE the slightest bit curious?
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 7:54 AM
In observing Snyder as owner of the Washington Redskins, I can say the guy wants to win. He will bring the same attitude to Six Flags through the people he hires. Shapiro definetely has a the kind of mentality Snyder is looking for. If you listen to him, he consistently says Six Flags will do this and they will do that and in the end the parks will be more about family.

With that said, yes, Snyder is ruthless and he will milk the every dollar he can out of somebody. He knows how to use the press. He is not afraid of controversy and seems to live for it. Examples, the Redskins have certain seats behind supports that he sells. Another example, you can only purchase your Redskins season tickets with a Master Card (it was going to be the Official Redskins Master Card until Master Card stepped in), want one more example, the local police said they wouldn't let people walk to the stadium because of safety concerns until someone took the county to court. The theory was Snyder wanted the money for parking.

He, like Shapiro, is about brand building. I don't think you build a already tarnished brand by threating to close eight parks and then not doing what you say your going to do. BTW, they never said they were going to close the parks, their looking at their options and I even read someplace that they may consider making a significant investment in the park.

In short, Snyder is ruthless, will milk every penny he can out of each guest. However, I don't think he would destroy a brand for personal gain. That seems out of touch with hi s persona.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 8:37 AM
I agree about Snyder. Look at the Redskins. Years ago, Snyder decided to charge $10 for fans to watch the team during preseason practice sessions. Most teams welcome visitors free of charge to open practices. I don't know if he still does this but this falls along the same lines as his audacious price increases for the Six Flags parks.
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 9:29 AM
Yep! Another good example. That was when Schottenheimer was the coach of the Redskins. The following year, training camp moved back to Carlisle or Frostburg and there was no charge and that stands today. Turns out charging for entrance to the Redskins training camp put the team at a disadvantage. By charging, they have to allow other teams NFL Scouts into training camp. Since Joe Gibbs has been Team President and Coach, the Redskins haven't charged for training camp and Snyder has left the decisions up to Joe Gibbs.

Snyder will do whatever it takes to make Six Flags a winner. Both Snyder and Shapiro realize if they offer a good product, then people will come and they will pay for it. Snyder did that with the Redskins. From the $75 all you can eat/Redskins Cheerleaders (some with Phd's might I add) filled buffet, to the rock bands that play at the stadium before and after the game, to the Hooters on the club level and the two hour post game party.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 9:31 AM

Lord Gonchar said:
It's from Screamscape, no one with an ounce of sense buys into it

Not to mention the number of insider trading laws it would violate.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 10:52 AM
Whats wierd is it was on MSNBC web page but now i cant find it. It is still listed on google news but I cant find anything in the article they list. I copied and pasted the little blurb from google news.

GM on track to save $5B
MSN Money - Jun 27, 2006
... Non-executive chairman Dan Snyder bought 500,000 shares of Six Flags (SIX, news, msgs) after the stock plunged on a profit warning. ...

Here is the link

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/CNBC/Dispatch/060627markets.aspx

Here is the google link just go down to June 27 you can see it listed there.

http://news.google.com/news?q=Dan+Snyder&btnG=Search+News&hl=en&ned=us&ie=UTF-8&scoring=d *** Edited 6/28/2006 2:53:05 PM UTC by supermandl***

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 11:32 AM
Everybody is over reacting. He said they are looking into MAYBE closing Magic Mountain. It was never stated that They would close it.
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 11:49 AM
"Maybe" and "considering options" is code for "we're a lot further on in the process than we are willing to announce at this time." Last week's announcement may be new news to many of you but some have known about SF wanting to dump SFMM and others for quite some time -- at least since January.

But yeah...if you want to keep your head burried in the sand be my guest ;)

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 12:30 PM
I think it's a way of *trying* to convince potential buyers that they need to come up with more cash than they really need to...remember the $100M price-tag on SFAW, it went for $77M. He's just trying to get a good price for the parks they're unloading... ;)
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:45 PM
Could be. I'm not sure how many options there could possibly be for SFMM that include it being operated as an amusement/theme park. Cedar Fair is unlikely to buy it unless they can get it for a once-in-a-lifetime price. And, *that* is unlikely given the value of the land it sits on. Paramount is out of the business. Disney doesn't buy parks. Universal probably doesn't either, and even if they did, just imagine how much capital it would take to elevate SFMM to a "Universal-quality" park in terms of environment, themeing, and attractions mix. Same for Busch.

The smaller "multi-park" outfits (HFE, KEC, and Buescher) have remote geographic centers of operation (south/northeast), and would really have to reach to buy a park of SFMM's size. Same would be true of any single-park ownership interest (e.g. the Koch's). Some of the smaller parks, located closer to some of these smaller players, may well survive as amusement parks. But, it's hard for me to imagine a scenario where someone other than Six Flags owns MM, and it remains an amusement park.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:48 PM
However, here's a wild thought: imagine a world in which Will Koch could convince some bank to give him a line of credit big enough to buy the thing. Freaky.
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:48 PM
The money grubbing that Snyder does with the Redskins won't work with amusement parks in the long run. The Redskins FANaticS put up with it because of a strong obsession with the team. That's very typical of sports fans.

The amusement park going public is different, and in my opinion is much less elastic in how much they will spend inside the park. Sure, it will work at first, people are a captive audience in the park. But, they may think twice about returning anytime soon. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool my twice, shame on me.

That said, I think Magic Mountain is done for. I don't see another operator spending as much as the real estate developers. Six Flags is getting desperate for cash to pay the banks, they probably have already decided to unload the park.

It's a shame, because the park was very nice at one time. And a profitable park will bring in much more in the long term than a sale will in the short term. If the park was properly developed and run, given the size of the LA area, it could be a cash cow.

But, at this point in time, Six Flags isn't looking at the long term. They need the cash now. I really think we are seeing the beginnings of the failure of the company.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:51 PM

rollergator said:
I think it's a way of *trying* to convince potential buyers that they need to come up with more cash than they really need to...remember the $100M price-tag on SFAW, it went for $77M. He's just trying to get a good price for the parks they're unloading...

Let's not forget, Burke and Co. decided to sell SFAW. The low selling price for SFAW was probably to make Burke and Co. look like complete idiots and the sell of SFMM will be completed to make Shapiro and Co. look very smart.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 2:05 PM
The low selling price is what the market would pay, it wasn't designed to make anyone look like idiots.
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 3:10 PM
Perhaps your right... I thought the announcement about the land being sold was made within a month of Shapiro taking office. Which would indicate to me he didn't spend a lot of time looking for a good buyer. However, Shapiro has spent a lot of time bad mouthing Burke. Which Burke deserves.
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Thursday, June 29, 2006 1:06 AM
Here is the actual SEC form stating Dan snyder did buy 500,000 shares.

http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/701374/000091412106002172/xslF345X02/p731341-4snyder_ex.xml

Article I got the link from.

http://www.fool.com/news/commentary/2006/commentary06062815.htm

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Thursday, June 29, 2006 1:26 AM
Why wouldn't Snyder be allowed to buy those 500,000 shares? I don't see what's wrong with that. I mean, obviously if he falsified reports to MAKE the stock plummet, then yeah, that's pretty illegal. But if he is just telling the truth about the companys situation and the stock plummets, then he is totally allowed to buy those shares. He's just being a smart business man.

I think some of you are overreacting to this whole situation. You just can't believe that they are considering selling SFMM. Believe it.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006 1:28 AM
These are ruthless, ruthless businessmen, whether you agree with their short term plans or not. Some would say they are exactly what the chain needed to bring it back on-line. Other are bracing themselves for a long *rollercoaster* ride that doesn't end well for fans of the chain.

Which side I fall on depends on the time of day. ;)

The bad news: SFMM *WILL* be sold off, mark my words. Moosh is right, this isn't news to those of us who live near the park. I still know quite a few people who work for Six Flags, and at this point, *everyone* is talking.

The good news: SFMM *WILL* be sold off, mark my words. Guest what? If the park closes in it's current condition, then peace out! What's to miss? If it's sold to another "park" bidder, then most likely the park will be transferred to better hands.

Sounds like a "win win" if ever I've heard one. ;)

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