I just found the Parques Reunidos web site, and the only US holdings I am seeing listed are a bunch of FECs...most of which are listed on their own web sites as "Palace Entertainment" (Mountasia and Boomers), so it looks like they have a pattern of buying an existing company and basically letting it run itself. The more I hear about this deal, the more I like the theory that this is mostly a matter of letting the many less-interested share holders cash out of the business while the family members and managers who are really running things get to stay on and continue running things...they just aren't the owners anymore. Actually it sounds like Kennywood Entertainment got the deal that Cedar Fair was allegedly looking for recently.
^I agree and several of you made a lot of good points that I never thought about, especially now that the initial "shock" as worn off. :)
My first reaction, like most others, was "Oh tell me it isn't true! Do NOT tell me that KW is turning into a corporate theme park! How COULD they?" I am surprised I didn't have nightmares about Phantom's Revenge being renamed after a superhero. ;)
Being that so many small, traditional parks have gone down the tubes or closed in the last few years by stupid business decisions or apathy for preservation or tradition would make anyone paranoid. :)
I feel more optimistic and will give the situation the benefit of the doubt. :)
We just don't know what's going to happen. Let's just hope for the best. :)
The parks that have closed were not successful to begin with, and in that regard I don't think it's fair to compare. Companies aren't always sold because they're not successful, and in this case the obvious motivation was the disinterest on the part of the hundred or so co-owners. I noticed the hilljacks posting on the newspaper site were all offended that it would be owned by a foreign company, but that's pretty ridiculous. It's a global economy after all, and the largest international amusement operator in the world happens to be an American company.
I don't care who owns the company and where the company is based if the parks continue to run as they were run. I don't think anyone believes Kennywood was sold because it was in trouble- I'm going to say the opposite is true.
^^That's one of the many points you and a few others brought up that I never thought about right away....looking at these things from a "business" point of view. :) Like Rob just mentioned, I never for ONCE thought KW was in dire straights anyway. :)
Like I said, we can only hope for the best. :) I don't care who owns what park, either.
*** Edited 12/12/2007 3:08:48 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***
All the parks the company bought recently were pretty much small/medium sized but pretty successful. Its not like SixFlags going on a shopping spree to buy underachiving parks. Most of these parks totally rely on their special atmosphere and distinction from corporate Parks (BonBon Land, Tusenfryd, Bobbejaanland, Kennywood). Parque Reunidos would be pretty stupid to go in and "brand" them. But since the company is actually not a brand provider like CF or SF, i don´t see this particular problem.
The reactions of the locals, while somehow understandable, is pretty telling and somehow sad. I bet most of the whiners are those people who - if they would ever travel to europe - would demand Mc Donalds, Starbucks, etc. everywhere.
Global americanization is pretty much seen as a given and usually works everwhere...except the amusement industry!
Six Flags really fell on their belly when they tried to copy american amusement-parks in Europe (One thing they copied was lousy capacity!), so there is hope that Parque Reunidos is really taking care of local colour and keep the parks as they are.
But I do wonder where the company is suddenly coming from and how they can buy all those parks in a bundle. As I said, most of the parks are well established and growing family parks who were not desperate to sell. What is going on there? And what will happen if Parque Reunidos is selling on, or their utopian dream of letting the parks live on their own is not going to work?
This is sad to hear about Kennywood. However I think this new company has plans on trying to bring Kennywood back up some. They are planning to putting in a new ride which will only help the park. As long as the new owners keep the park in good shape and continue to improve the park there shouldn't be a problem here. I just hope they don't plan on shutting the park down that would be sad after so long.
I have been obsessed with Kennywood since I was a child and have worked there for 8 wonderful years. While I was upset that it was sold, after thinking about it, I think as long as the park runs the same, it is a chance of opportunity for the park to add to the guest experience. Maybe shade for queue areas, future development, and a roller coaster or 2. Time will tell.
^ From what I understand, numerous family members are involved in the company business. Wasn't it several of Dick's children who handled the golf course acquisition?
As long as there's a viable succession plan in place, most family-owned and operated businesses can last many generations.
Viable succession plan:
1) There's someone in the next generation with enough interest and knowledge of the business to take over day to day operations. Realizing that the family name only gets you so far, and there's still plenty of work and little sense of entitlement involved.
2) You don't have too many people involved (like 20 people with 5% of the business each), who end up squabbling with each other and nothing gets done.
3) The older generation teaches the young ones well and doesn't assume that the day the business changes hands will never come.
The more I learn about this, the more I see that part of the shareholders want the company and part of them don't. The ones that do are probably lacking the money it would take to gain full control of the company so if they found a way to raise that money...