Snyder drops his share of Six Flags

Posted Tuesday, January 18, 2005 11:27 PM | Contributed by Headchopper

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has announced he will let go of his 8% stake in Six Flags after chatter last year about trying to turn it around.

Read more from The Star-Telegram.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005 11:44 PM
His team had quite the turnaround too... :)
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 1:18 AM
Or, if you don't want to register to read the article here is a link to the SEC filing and complete text of Snyder's letter:


*** This post was edited by Mamoosh 1/19/2005 1:18:45 AM ***

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 1:28 AM
I guess he told them...;)
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 1:31 AM
I loved this part of the letter:

Blaming the company's poor performance on the weather and the economy cannot last forever.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 8:05 AM
The one comment he made that may be most to the point is that the folks making the big decisions have no experience in park management and that is leading to the biggest problems.

Gee, where have I heard that before? Perhaps places like Coasterbuzz for the past 5 years or so? I hope they didn't do a big, expensive study to figure that out.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 8:13 AM

Blaming the company's poor performance on the weather and the economy cannot last forever.

wow does that sound familiar when Six Flags Ohio/Worlds of Adventure they had blamed upon weather and econonmy problems, but i see Cedar Fair has no problem with the park now Geauga Lake.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 8:25 AM
Geauga tanked last year buddy, attendance was so low it was scary. FWIW Cedar Fairs waterparks posted a 15% drop in attendance and they blamed that on cooler weather.

all that aside, I think Dan Snyder was never serious about this investment. He made it sound like he meant business, challeneged the upper mgt. then jumped ship and collected nearly 4 million in profits from his share sale.

Power players like Dan Snyder play games with money all over the place, if he was serious he and Bill Gates would have at least "tried" to push thru changes, all they did was scare upper mgt. by shaking a monetary fist at them, nothing more.

The comments that Snyder made in his farewell letter may be quite valid, however his hasty retreat only goes to prove his resolve was weak.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005 8:54 AM
Wasn't this the same guy who thought all of Six Flag's problems could be solved with having ads in video games and in extreme sports competitions?
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 9:19 AM
Well now at least he can get back to the important stuff. Like continue to run the Redskins into the ground:)
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 9:33 AM
Yea, this guy is certainly a foolish business man...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 9:40 AM
I meant performance wise. Not value wise.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 10:08 AM
Weird, I didn't have to register to read the article last night.

But the SEC filing... wow, that's some classic stuff! "Your October 12, 2004 letter served only to reconfirm our view that the non-management directors are continuing to protect an underperforming management team and encouraging the status quo..."

Of course, on the other hand, I think most of us agreed that some of his suggestions were pretty stupid. A solid cap ex program is the life blood of big amusement parks, especially in competitive markets, though Snyder calls it "misplaced". He doesn't get that it's not just about filling a stadium eight times a year.

The only thing that I think he gets right is that there's no excuse for the board keeping these awful executives in place. I know Gary Story said he left in part for health reasons, but being a "park guy," I have to think it was more than that (like getting off a sinking ship).

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 11:11 AM
Attempted pump n' dump?
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 1:06 PM
Hmmmm, I wouldn't think so. I think he wanted to be the new sheriff in town, but nobody was hiring. Adding three people to the board? Cuz he said so? Ha.

Even he has to admit the '05 plans will bring good results...which is why he claims his ideas work better in the long term.

As for Gary Story? I wouldn't be so quick to lionize the man. Ordering multiple untested prototypes like Deja Vu? Or a mega-sized version of the 4D coaster? Three or four coasters in a single park over a single season without raising the gate? If they weren't his decisions they sure as hell happened on his watch. If anything, the cap ex choices got better after his departture.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005 1:44 PM
That depends on who gets to make the decision. In public companies I've worked for, the COO wouldn't make those decisions, the CEO and board would. The COO in companies I worked for dealt with day-to-day operation, not growing the business.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 3:58 PM
On the other hand, it seems Story was definitely involved in the X process. Remember this interview? From its context, it seems he had a great deal to do with those choices. Why show your new wares to someone who's not a decision maker? Isn't that among the first rules of business?


Thursday, January 20, 2005 8:54 AM
I don't know any great CEO's that didn't make mistakes. Coca Cola has been a pretty solid company but they did have the New Coke fiasco. Monday Night Football has been a pretty solid franchise but they did have the Dennis Miller years.

In the amusement park world Dick Kinzel is pretty highly regarded but he himself admits that Avalanche Run was a mistake and there are certainly others.

The problem is more deep at Six Flags. It hasn't been a mistake here or there. It has been several years of philosophical and operational mistakes that nobody seems to correct. And the thing I just can't comprehend is that way back when they first started buying up parks there were those of us in the field who just knew it wasn't going to work. Now, I am the last to claim to be a financial genius but my limited knowledge of the industry has had me questioning Six Flags practices since the mid 90's and at each turn it seems that my skepticism has been justified. I just can't believe it is possible that people on the inside didn't feel the same. The only explanation is that the egos at the top were too inflated to hear the words, "that is a bad idea" now and again.

Thursday, January 20, 2005 11:24 PM
"Monday Night Football has been a pretty solid franchise but they did have the Dennis Miller years."

Actually ABC loses money on MNF and the Dennis Miller years were an attempt to attract an audience that was a little more "intelligent". What it did was piss off the stereotype and seem desparate to the audience they wanted to attract.

PKS grew too fast. Business is about risk. People herald Trump as a genius businessman, yet he has filed for bankruptcy how many times. Gates is a "bully", yet he is a solid businesman who takes risks and is prepared to lose if the venture goes awry. Six Flags (kinda like the US in Iraq) has/had no exit strategy. We buy these parks, spend more money than we have, and hope it catches on. "We'll cross the failure bridge if we need to."


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