Motley Fool's Munarriz: Selling Paramount Parks a mistake

Posted Friday, December 23, 2005 2:43 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Motley Fool's Rick Munarriz says that Viacom's willingness to sell the Paramount Parks chain is illogical. He feels that a media company giving up 10 million visitors, precious "eyeballs" that you can market your product to, lacks common sense.

Read more from The Motley Fool.

Friday, December 23, 2005 2:48 PM
I agree. Probably the most baffling decision in the history of amusement parks. I can't find a single good reason to sell the parks including that they're "not a growth business", because that's what the division was for. Not to mention the parks have indeed been growing. Weren't they all at record attendance last year? You wonder about some of these companies. Is the entire board running off one stupid brain? Same thing goes for some of the editing decisions on movies, individual parks, certain businesses in general, etc. and such as if the number of eyes and heads couldn't figure out glaring problems that most of their audience drops jaws and rolls eyes at upon first glance. I'm no expert, but I know what above average Joe is probably thinking about these things.

+Danny
*** This post was edited by +Danny 12/23/2005 2:55:01 PM ***

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Friday, December 23, 2005 5:18 PM
The only thing Viacom/CBS is really looking to do is raise some cash to help offset what has been put out for the DreamWorks deal. It may not be the most sensible way to raise the funds, but we are not in control either.
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Friday, December 23, 2005 5:36 PM
Unfortunately, people have gotten the idiotic idea that "growth" means the value of your portfolio has to double every 47 minutes. They aren't interested in steadily performing companies. If Viacom doesn't consider the parks a growth business, see what happens if someone offers them the value of the parks from say, 1996.
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Friday, December 23, 2005 8:52 PM
Just because you CAN own something doesn't mean you SHOULD. Disney has proven that with a variety of business ventures including construction (ARVIDA Development), Internet (the GO Network), retail (The Disney Stores), etc. Sometimes when you stray away from your core business other things suffer or they become a drag. Maybe Viacom is thinking in those terms.

They still might be able to work out a licensing deal with the new owners (Cedar Fair maybe?) that would allow them to keep their movie connections at the parks. That might even lead to additional opportunities.

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Friday, December 23, 2005 9:24 PM
Ewww, I always wonder when suggestions arise about Cedar Fair buying parks if the person has ever been to anything that wasn't the Point or Knott's. Not that I care too much about the lack of character and charm of the former or the horrible website and marketing of the latter.

+Danny

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Saturday, December 24, 2005 12:24 PM
I have been to a couple of the Paramount Parks and what the have in theming they lack in lots of other things.

Cedar Fair is in one business: amusement parks (with some hotels on the side). They do that exceptionally well and I am quite sure Dick and the gang are looking at Kings Island, Carowinds, and the others quite seriously.

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Saturday, December 24, 2005 2:26 PM
I'm sure Paramount Parks apologizes for not having giant phallic coasters at two of their parks and B&Ms everywhere. A lot. I'd be excited to see Cedar Fair's perfection pass over in wood coaster maintenance, dark rides, and free waterpark admission, so I'm sorry too for jumping the gun.

+Danny
*** This post was edited by +Danny 12/24/2005 2:30:26 PM ***

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Saturday, December 24, 2005 3:50 PM
I'm not sure I understand your insistence that there's some corporate conspiracy toward poor wood coaster maintenance. Blue Streak and Thunderhawk are pretty cool. Wolf Kabobs and presumably Villain are on the right track. Mean Streak just sucks in the first place, even with six full-time carpenters on it.
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Saturday, December 24, 2005 5:09 PM
You forgot Ghostrider...and is Big Dipper that bad these days (I have not been there since the Six Flags fiasco)?

P.S. Blue Streak ran as well as it has in years just one year ago!

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Saturday, December 24, 2005 8:48 PM
Thunderhawk? Big Dipper at GL, the work on Kabobs, Ghostrider, Blue Streak....CF *can* do good work on wood...

Timberwolf, the late Herc, Mean Streak prove that they can also *not*...

Thunderhawk - I *loved* the first time I rode...even the second time (3-4 years ago) confirmed that the coaster still "had it". This last trip though, on the most recent PPP excursion, that ride had lost nearly everything but the opening sequence. The rest was horribly overbraked... :(

Back to Paramount though, I have to agree with Munarriz on this one, they're giving up on an awful lot of business *synergies*...

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Sunday, December 25, 2005 12:33 AM
Seriously though... some rides are just flawed. Mean Streak and Herc are prime examples. That's not my opinion, but rather what one of the real engineers tell me (and seeing as how there aren't that many, you can probably figure out who that might be).
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Sunday, December 25, 2005 3:42 PM
Mean Streak and Herc are also prime examples of S-D *original creations*...LOL, er, um....ouch! :(

I'll always believe that only the very worst of designs can't be made AT LEAST *tolerable* with really dedicated maintenance...

Makes me wonder "what went right" with Texas Giant? ;)

It's NOT about the amount of money spent to maintain wood, it's about the LOVE of the carpenter/mechanics doing the day-to-day..the word maintainence in itself is a misnomer, since their being "continuosly re-built"...there's good reason that Raven and Legend got faster each and every SRM...then again, they were really solid designs to begin with...

edit: Just so I don't take this TOO far off-topic (too late?), Paramount is *loaded* with wooden coasters (save of course for PGA), maybe their wood-coaster maintenance will be improved by a sale? Other than PCar, *all* of their parks could use better care of their wood...

Wood, it's good... :)*** This post was edited by rollergator 12/25/2005 3:46:04 PM ***

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Sunday, December 25, 2005 8:16 PM
Shivering Timbers is pretty meh for all the raves it gets, Wolverine Wildcat was rough as hell and totally boring compared to the similarly designed and extraordinarily better, Phoenix at Knoebels. Zach's Zoomer is just there and it's a family coaster, no complaints.

The Villain was the roughest I have ever, ever, ever seen or felt on a woodie this year. It was in my top 20 and now it's dead last. It was "I wonder what the closest hospital is" bad. Nothing has come close to comparison in the brutality and roughness of that. Raging Wolf Bobs has a spot of bad and the rest is fairly smooth. Yawnable, but thumbs up for retracking, which was started by SF, so I'll give them credit for the start. Big Dipper can be a killer or bliss depending on what seat you're in.

Mean Streak is boring, squealy, jumpy, and bad. Blue Streak is nice and fun. Props on that one.

Thunderhawk's jerkiness and crunching into the track was a little offset by the annoying rattling of Hydra to get an exact impression of it. This is a coaster that has always had "half train" operation, so that's one thing that bugs me.

I couldn't ride Ghostrider more than twice due to the vibrating and roughness (is this a theme?), which was much worse than my rides a few years ago.

I haven't been on Timberwolf, but I've heard mixed reviews, mostly saying it's continually getting worse and it's a shadow of its former self. High Roller gets so-so word as well. Can't really comment on them personally though.

I guess the CF woodies really aren't that bad.

+Danny

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Monday, December 26, 2005 1:37 AM
Maybe it's wishful thinking, but why is it that anytime there's talk about a park or parks begin sold, the cry goes up that CF should just drop whatever it's doing and buy it/them?

It's one thing-- actually a lengthy ongoing thing-- with a single park like Geauga Lake. It's a totally different critter when you talk about 4 or 5 Paramount Parks, or how ever many kazillion SF parks people think CF should just go out and snag. They have their hands full now operating 7 parks, why should or would they go out and instantly increase that to 12 or 15? (And not miss a beat in the operations of either their existing or the "new" parks.)

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