Six Flags takes final bids, urges investors to allow sale

Posted Wednesday, November 9, 2005 1:22 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Amusement park operator Six Flags Inc. said on Tuesday it expects to receive final takeover offers from financial and strategic suitors by early December, with a final decision made by year-end. CEO Kieran Burke again urged investors not to support a group seeking to take over the board and instead wait for Six Flags to finish the process of selling the company.

Read more from AP via ABCnews.com and Reuters.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 1:51 AM
Of course he doesn't want someone to take over the board, he wants to buy the company...

I don't care what people say about Snyder, I just want to see Burke gone. The guy ran the entire company into the ground. Like was said in PodBuzz, you never see any of the SFI higher ups in the park doing anything. Course, if my parks looked like crap, I wouldn't be caught dead in them either...

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 2:13 AM
Tekno. You can't compare Burke walking around at SF parks to Kinzel doing the same because I know that is where you were going with this.

Kinzel and company happen to be living on the grounds of their flagship park. God knows where SF has a flagship park these days. Some say SFMM, some say SFGADv, and others now say SFGAm. Makes you wonder.

As long as some of the higher ups regionally make the effort and walk around greeting people and picking up trash like the local management at SFGAm does, that is all I care about. I really could care less if Burke ever steps foot at the Gurnee park. Just as long as he approves capital spending that continues to make this park one of the best in the chain.

Not a Burke fan by a long shot but its not always about the top dog that makes a difference.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 4:26 AM
Tekno, you blame Burke for running the parks into the ground, yet everything looks very promising for Six Flags in the future under current management; seeing as how the past 9 months, they've turned a solid profit - something we haven't seen in AWHILE. As much as I hate to see either men holding the reigns to the corporation, I'd much rather see Burke continue as lead dog. Snyder has zero experience and familiarity with the amusement park industry and business and his "strategies" I really believe will harm operations at parks.

I'd like to see Snyder held off until the sale process is completed, leaving the Six Flags parks in new control of more experienced hands that actually went out to purchase the parks rather than attempt to oust out management and gain control.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 8:29 AM
I don't know if you can say for certain that SF is turning a solid profit. I'm sure Burke and Co. reap a monetary reward for the sale of the company and is pushing the sale. I don't think we truely know how bad the books at SF are until a sale is complete.

Chitown, I don't think Tekno is comparing Burke to Kinzel. There are a lot of CEO's that get out and walk there companies, associate with employees, thank them for doing a good job. When I was contactor for Marriott, Mr. Marriott met every employee at the door and shook their hand on occassion for doing a good job. When Sam Walton was in charge of Wal-Mart he use to do the same thing and even greet customers at the door of the store. I don't know if I ever heard of Burke getting out and walking around Great Adventure or Frontier City and greeting guests.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 9:28 AM
As a percentage, coasterguts, CEOs that "get out there and walk there (sic) companies, associate with employees, thank them for a good job" are by far in the minority.

In all the large companies I have worked for, the closest I have come to meeting a CEO-level person is via voicemail broadcasts...

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 10:00 AM
In the biggest public company I've worked for, I met the CEO and COO on a fairly regular basis toward the end, and those idiots had no idea what was going on their own company, or what their customers needed or wanted. They didn't have the slightest idea about what was going on in the marketplace.

It doesn't matter that Kinzel lives at Cedar Point. He visits all of the parks fairly regularly. While still allowing autonomy for his GM's, he still gets out and meets with people to understand the requirement of his business in its various units. If Burke was doing this, even once a year, he'd certainly get it.

There isn't anything bright about the company's future right now. When you're selling parks for the land and sitting under $2.1 billion in debt, that means you're desperate, not in good shape.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 10:14 AM
I'd much rather see Burke keep running the show than have Snyder implement his ideas that just seem un-suitable for any regional amusement park. They seem to lead torward a destination park like Universal, or even Disney, these are places you'd expect to pay a lot for everything. I think Burke and his team realized the shambles that they've created and are doing an excellent job at picking up the pieces and finally moving in the right direction for a change. My hat's off to them and I say better late than never. I rejected the Red Zone Proposal, I fully support what SFI are trying to get accomplished.
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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 10:45 AM
Just to clarify for everyone who seems to be jumping on Tekno...

"kinzel and company" may live on the grounds of cedar point, but cedar point is a resort - six flags doesn't have anything like cedar point. And even aside from that, WHY would that excuse Burke's and other higher ups absence in their amusement parks. Maybe they can't visit every park every year, but at least make an effort. The FACT is you WILL see Kinzel, and Falfas in the Cedar Fair parks at least once every operating season. They care about what their parks are doing.

As for SF, anyone is better than the current board at this point.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 11:26 AM
Anyone? How soon they forget.

Back when the strategy was 'slap in a buncha coasters, crow about the short-term attendance increases, watch the stock price climb, lather, rinse and repeat' the only folks complaining here were folks whose parks weren't getting more coasters (or in their opinion, enough of 'em).

Once the shareholders chastised this bunch for their mistakes, they buckled down and actually just finished a season of doing a great many things right. Not perfectly, mind you. But definitely on the right track.

And you wanna wait how long for someone else to learn the same lessons over?

-CO

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 11:50 AM
I also voted against Snyder. I don't think he's got the answers. I think CoastaPlaya is right, things have started to move in the right direction.
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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 12:55 PM
But how do you know they are moving the right direction and that management isn't just trying save their rear ends not to mention they'll probably benefit from the sale of the company. It's like paying them for doing a bad job. Why weren't these changes being made two or three years ago when they were blaming things on sunny weather. To little to late if you ask me.
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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 1:42 PM
Were you listening to the '04 conference calls at all?

It's not as if they suddenly pulled Mr. Six, Kingda Ka and a bunch of Proslide Tornadoes out of their back pocket and voila! their first profits. These moves were already in the making.

Again, I'm not a huge fan of their board. But I'm not above giving credit where credit is due.

Their second mistake was making coaster dorks happy. The first was taking on the $2 billion in debt when they purchased the chain from Boston Ventures.

-'Playa

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 2:15 PM
I find it funny that everyone here assumes Kieran Burk never gets out in his parks. Ask anyone who works for Six Flags, and you'll find that assumption is incorrect. Burke visits his parks all the time.

-Nate
*** This post was edited by coasterdude318 11/9/2005 2:16:39 PM ***

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 3:09 PM
Then that confirms our second theory... he really is a moron.
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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 3:58 PM
The owners aren't the problem the people on the BOD are the problem.

I don't know about you Coasterdude but the only time I've ever seen Burke set foot into SFA was at the press conference held there in october 98....& that was on TV.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 4:09 PM
Sure... They added attractions to the park 'Playa but the problems run deeper than adding attractions. They have to keep the guest coming back. What happens when a guest shows up at a SF park? They walk away disappointed. Disappointed that flat rides were down, or a coaster runs one side of the station or lines extend out of the station and up the hill because another train is down and sitting on the transfer tracks. Disappointed they were rudely treated or a park is dirty. The problems run deeper than just adding new attractions for a momentary boost in attendance. BTW, it doesn't seem current management has learned anything. Look at 2006 for example. LaRonde, SFGAdv, SFMM, SFoG. all have confirmed or are about to confirm a new coaster. Seems like SF is back on their coaster buying binge again when they could've spent the money on smaller less expensive attractions or "makeovers" that have the same impact chainwide. I believe it was in one of Burke's conference calls that he said building Superman Ultimate Flight had no affect on park attendance and the company would not continue adding attractions of this magnitude since the results were a disappointment. Did SF have to build a 456 foot version of TTD for 2005? Does SFGAdv need a new wooden coaster a year after getting a record breaking coaster? Does SFMM need another coaster when one of the biggest complaints I read is the lack of flat rides at the park?

BatwingFan, Burke is chairman of the Board of Directors. Read their biographies here (which btw, appear to have been updated recently):

http://investors.sixflags.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=61629&p=irol-

FYI... Tigris Management is now backing Red Zone.

http://yahoo.reuters.com/financeQuoteCompanyNewsArticle.jhtml?duid=mtfh36334_2005-11-09_20-59-50_n0915563_newsml

*** This post was edited by coasterguts 11/9/2005 4:35:22 PM ***

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 4:44 PM
For those who aren't backing the notion of a Snyder/Red Zone takeover, please expain the reasons for your reservations. Opinions are fine, but let's back that up with some fact if we can. I'm just curious as I would have thought most of you would be "jumping" for joy at the thought of a SF INC takeover.

If not Snyder, then who? Some nameless, faceless company (so far) that may also offer less answers to the fanancial situation of the company, and perhaps more of the same, just with a pretty new bow and wrapping paper?

Snyder has at least put most of his cards on the table, and they sound strikingly close to what most of us have been saying for years.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 5:12 PM

LaRonde, SFGAdv, SFMM, SFoG. all have confirmed or are about to confirm a new coaster. Seems like SF is back on their coaster buying binge again...

Nah. The real binge used to net four new coasters in a single park in a single off-season.


Did SF have to build a 456 foot version of TTD for 2005?

Right idea (headline-stealing record breaker), right park, wrong ride.


Does SFGAdv need a new wooden coaster a year after getting a record breaking coaster?

You mean, follow up with a coaster that works? I'd say yeah!
And let's not forget CP did much the same thing with Magnum & MS, just with an additional year between their construction.


If not Snyder, then who?

Perhaps someone who can afford to finance their ideas and put their own neck on the line? Burke's team isn't the first person to stagger under the weight of Six Flag's debt. They didn't make it. It was already there. They were merely willing and able to assume it as the price of calling the shots.

If Snyder's ideas are so sound, so vastly superior, why can't he cobble together a group of his own investors to support him? Shouldn't that tell you something?

-'Playa
(a fan of neither team)

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 5:27 PM
But the key word playa is "someone". Who exactly is that? Where are these people coming from and where have they been?

The company doesn't need anymore sore necks, there just isn't time for that. Snyder may or may not be the answer, as I'm also not a fan of either side at this point. But we've already tried it the other way. It didn't work. And do you actually blame investors for scoffing at 2 billion in debt?

That's an uphill battle no matter how great your "ideals". I can't blame Snyder for "backdoring" it.*** This post was edited by DWeaver 11/9/2005 5:39:34 PM ***

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