Kennywood Owners Divided On Foreign Sale

Monday, March 10, 2008 2:16 PM
Story

Some interesting stuff there - like how many owners there are (76 - and more than 50% live outside the Pittsburgh area) and the rumored amount offered ($200 million). Definitely a good read.

*** Edited 3/10/2008 8:14:58 PM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

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Monday, March 10, 2008 2:57 PM
*Excerpted*
"Henninger estimated about 90 percent of shareholders at a meeting Downtown around Thanksgiving favored discussing a deal with Parques Reunidos.

But that meeting and the Dec. 11 sales announcement confused some owners. Some thought they were voting whether to look at offers, not to accept one."

Sounds to me like some of those in favor of the sale might have been "pulling a fast one" over on those who: 1) didn't have enough information to take a stand either way, and 2) just wanted to evaluate the offer...

After seeing how the IB sale is progressing, hopefully the owners will take a longer look....and maybe make SOME attempt to ensure the continued *excellence* in the operation of the park.

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Monday, March 10, 2008 3:14 PM
I was going to post this Saturday, but I forgot. Interesting.
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Monday, March 10, 2008 4:11 PM
$200 million for Kennywood, Sandcastle, Lake Compounce, and Storyland? Sounds ridiculously cheap. No way they'll get 100% of the vote.
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Monday, March 10, 2008 8:13 PM
you forgot Idlewild
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Monday, March 10, 2008 9:22 PM
$200 million really surprised me. Seems way low for 5 parks that all turn a good profit every year.
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Monday, March 10, 2008 10:00 PM
Although recent history in the industry suggests that it ain't exactly a seller's market these days.
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Monday, March 10, 2008 10:09 PM
All the more reason not to sell...
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Monday, March 10, 2008 10:30 PM
I said earlier they will not sell. Some family members may sell to the others, but Kennywood will remain family owned. Expect the announcement before opening day.
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Monday, March 10, 2008 11:47 PM
This is good news...I REALLY hope they don't sell. No good could come of it. I lost my home park to the corporate machine, hate to see it happen to Kennywood.
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 8:43 AM
Actually, if the family rebuffs the sale, which I believe will happen, it will position Kennywood to be the dominant park in the region, especially in terms of groups and special events which can be directed at Sandcastle and Idlewild.

Cedar Point, which has not focused on those nice picnic pavillions so much, will now be a mini vacation resort, and in an arms race with themselves. The worst thing that happened to Cedar Point, as we can discuss 15 years from now, was them finally eliminating all their competition.

No more Kings Island, no more Geauga Lake. What they build is 'good'. Everything is a winner. No more building of Beast's, RWB's, Double Loops, Vortex's, etc. If its at Cedar Point, it must be good.

Can Cedar Point compete in the Eastern Ohio market for groups? Maybe. Against Kennywood? All yellow arrows point to 'No'.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:08 AM
Im in agreement with AJ for a change.

All the BIG Things at CP is exactly whats changed for the WORSE at CP.

Quite honestly, Mybest times there were before Raptor when the park was charming with Atmosphere and animals to go along with rides.

Chuck, Kennywood vs CP?
Kennywood 365 days a year.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:13 AM
And people thought I was nuts when I said this was going to happen.

^ I completely agree with that kind of mentality. The elimination of competition is a very bad thing for consumers, and Ohio amusement parks will be no different. Let's just hope that Cedar Fair doesn't get too complacent and stop giving people good reasons to keep returning. If that happens, the amusement industry is going to suffer a huge blow, just like it did when Six Flags landed itself in the crapper.

In that particular region, I see good things for Kennywood and Waldameer, and not-so-good things for Conneaut.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 10:11 AM
It will be interesting to see what happens if/when Kennywood builds out their expansion. If that happens they will becomes true competition for Cedar Point and not just an alternative.
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 10:17 AM
I have no idea what to make of that. I keep hearing it all depends on that expressway getting built, but I find it hard to believe that Kennywood has invested so much money in land aquisition and research and would ultimately decide not to expand for whatever reason. Seems like it's bound to happen, and the only question has to do with the timing.
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 2:49 PM
I had to chuckle when I read the comments from the relative in Florida about Pittsburgh is Kennywood, etc. The "family-owned" part sounds sweet and all, but how easy is it to do anything if it requires super-majority approval of 76 relatives?

I wonder if they'd get the needed approval to embark on a large park expansion-- first, because of the expense that will be involved, second because it involves change. I can see a lot of these family members resisting anything that will change the Kennywood they know now (or from the past)-- whether that be a large expansion, or increasing attendance by half a million or more annually.

Pennsylvanians in general are resistant to change. Ex-Pennsylvanians (people born and raised here) are even worse-- they expect to come back after x number of years and see things exactly as they were when they left.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 3:54 PM
On a semi-related note, I got around to watching the first half of "Kennywood Memories", the WQED special that Rick Sebak did in 1988.

It's now available on DVD, so if you don't already have a copy, go out and get one, for goodness sakes!

Anyway, every long-time employee/owner/manager he talked to in the first 40 minutes all riffed the same idea: "A lot has changed since then"---said in a wistful, somewhat sad way. And, just think about how different it is now, 20 years later!

Kennywood, at its core, is intimately entwined with its own history---sometimes, as RGB points out, possibly to its detriment.
*** Edited 3/11/2008 7:54:49 PM UTC by Brian Noble***

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 7:27 AM

RatherGoodBear said:
The "family-owned" part sounds sweet and all, but how easy is it to do anything if it requires super-majority approval of 76 relatives?

If I understand it correctly, you don't need the super-majority for any decision except for selling the park.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 9:09 AM

RatherGoodBear said:


I wonder if they'd get the needed approval to embark on a large park expansion-- first, because of the expense that will be involved, second because it involves change. I can see a lot of these family members resisting anything that will change the Kennywood they know now (or from the past)-- whether that be a large expansion, or increasing attendance by half a million or more annually.


I wonder if that really is the case, because it seems as though the majority of Kennywood's ownership wanted nothing at all to do with the company until it was time to discuss a sale. I'm willing to bet a few people make the business decisions, whether it involves repainting trash cans or installing a $10 million ride.

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