Synder asks for Six Flags board meeting

Posted Friday, September 3, 2004 9:07 AM | Contributed by coasterguts

Daniel Snyder on Thursday sent a letter to independent directors of Six Flags, Inc., requesting a meeting to discuss his proposals to turn around the company. He says CEO Kieran Burke declined to meet with him before talking with lawyers.

Read more from Reuters.

Friday, September 3, 2004 9:14 AM
I don't entirely feel this is a good thing. While there is obviously a dire need for change, him coming in and offering suggestions is not helpful. We already have bankers and lawyers running the company. They need a hard-core industry person, not an outsider that thinks some ownership makes him an expert.
Friday, September 3, 2004 10:01 AM
I agree. This guy has owned stock for less than a month (he first started buying on August 11). If Snyder thinks that marketing is the company's problem, I'd have to disagree there. SF came out with a brilliant ad campaign. It seems like everywhere I went, people were humming that song. I am somewhat spoiled, as SFGAm is my home park, and they seem to get the customer service thing right (for the most part). My experience has not been anything like the horror stories that I've read here.

That being said, a shakeup at the top may be a good thing. I don't believe that this guy has the answer.


Friday, September 3, 2004 10:08 AM
Marketing is more than an ad campaign. That only gets them to the park. The whole experience will get them to buy merchandise, food, play games. And if it is positive they may come back.

Being an outsider may not be a bad thing. Same old, same old does not always guarantee success.


Friday, September 3, 2004 10:15 AM
Unfortunately, SF's biggest problem isn't marketing, service, or operations (although, all of course play a part..)--it's the absolutely crushing debt load.

Even if all Six Flags parks approached guest service like they were Holiday World, and ran their coasters like they were Cedar Point, they still have a debt load that's 2x annual sales. And, short of a time machine, there's no easy fix to that one...


Friday, September 3, 2004 10:22 AM
Who says Dan Snyder isn't going to bring in a seasoned veteran to run the company? Again, these are just media reports. I read this as Dan Snyder wants a board meeting and nothing else. The media isn't telling the whole truth. That's one thing I have learned from reading all of press about ride accidents. Dan Snyder wants a meeting with Kiernan Burke, he has a right to protect his investment and if Dan wants to make a few suggestions on how to improve the marketing of Six Flags, then maybe Burke and Co. should listen.
Friday, September 3, 2004 11:56 AM
I think that SF Inc needs some new ideas, and possibly Snyder can provide them.... As far as Seasoned Veterans go, I don't think Six Flags is lacking in that Dept.

Either way, I'd think twice before dismissing Snyder altogether.

Friday, September 3, 2004 12:16 PM
I agree Sam... but the problem is that the experienced industry types don't appear to be in any position to actually create change. I've heard that on more than one occassion from even VP-level people. Something has to give.

Unfortunately, SF's biggest problem isn't marketing, service, or operations (although, all of course play a part..)--it's the absolutely crushing debt load.
Which one might argue would be more easily serviced if all of the above were right.
Friday, September 3, 2004 1:30 PM
Merger with whom, who could Six Flags merge with. Is there any amusement/theme park operator that big?
Friday, September 3, 2004 1:42 PM
Maybe Snyder has some good ideas to turn things around, maybe not. I'm still not convinced his intentions are honorable yet. I have a feeling he is after something for his own gain, like maybe the real estate that SFA sits on. Now Bill Gates I have more faith in.
Friday, September 3, 2004 1:44 PM
Let's look at Snyder's track record. He turned the Washington Redskins into one of the most "valuable" teams in the NFL. His team payroll was, I believe, the highest in the league, and now.... the team still sucks. One would think that the kind of money that he spent would have at the very least bought .500, but instead they were 5-11 last year. If you want to talk about underperformance, than Snyder seems to fit right in at the moment.

He's not an industry man, and probably knows very little about how to run an amusement park operation. What he does have is a lot of money, and Six Flags has had their credit rating dropped recently and is trading at about 4 bucks. Do you think that it was a coincidence that stock shot up 25% the next day??? It's certainly not because Six Flags got better, it was the maneuvering of all the big money men that we don't see that caused it. The company is ripe for change....if you know what I mean. Kieran Burke knows it, and for a guy that has been seemingly oblivious (or in denial) about the company's real problems, he sure is watching his back now. Even the mention of merger in the news by Snyder is enough to light the fire.

To be honest with you, I wonder....will big changes really happen at the company?? or is this all a big pose to make some quick cash (believe me that happens)...and where is Bill Gates in all of this? His company said that they were unhappy, but that is about all we have heard so far. Will he step up to the plate as well?? and is he even a solution??? There is no doubt that he's a business wizard, but Six Flags needs more than just that. They need a very creative industry person to compliment.

Friday, September 3, 2004 2:04 PM
Say what you will about the Deadskins "on the field" record, but under Dan Snyder, the Redskins Franchise is one of the most profitable teams in the league. The reason he can spend all that money chasing high profile "talent", is because the Redskins are raking in money hand over fist. He may spend a lot, he may not get on the field results, but as far as the business side of things go, he is WELL in the black.

And, just for the record, many of the complaints regarding his off-seasons moves only came AFTER the ensuing season played out. MANY analysts, who claim to know a thing or two about a thing or two, predicted good times for the team the past couple of years.....Hasnt worked out that way, but the "sports pundits" were as hope as ol' Danny Boy.

....but the Redskins do still STINK, Gibbs or no Gibbs...

Friday, September 3, 2004 2:07 PM
I thinkt he Motely Fools have a pretty intersting commentary about Six Flags:

Now, about Dan Snyder. Everyone keeps attacking Dan Snyder because of the team record. Sure, he had the highest payroll in the league. However, in the end, the coach couldn't get it done with leagues highest payroll not Dan Snyder. Dan Snyder gave Steve Spurrier what he asked for. In the end Steve Spurrier said I can't do the job and stepped down. Dan Snyder gave him everything he asked for and in the end the leagues most expensive team could only produce a 5-11 record. So is that the owner's fault or the coaches fault.*** This post was edited by coasterguts 9/3/2004 2:08:40 PM ***
*** This post was edited by coasterguts 9/3/2004 2:09:02 PM ***

Friday, September 3, 2004 5:02 PM
The first question that comes to my mind...albeit one that will probably not be answered for some time...what does this bode for the ownership situation SFoT and SFoG?

Should be interesting to watch at the very least...


Friday, September 3, 2004 10:37 PM
Did you see the outcome of tonight's skins game 2hostyl? the skins beat the falcons in a 27 to nothing game....sure it was the final pre-season game but it was a good way to get the team ready for the full season.

Snyder can't do any worse with SF than Burke already has & like I said before when the news broke the other day both Snyder & Gates can pump some much needed working capital into the company to help with the debt & provide more funding for cap ex spending.

Saturday, September 4, 2004 2:46 PM
I have a question. Does anybody know exactly how much debt is Six Flags is currently in? I was thinking it was in the $1 billion range, but I thought heard someone recently say that is in $2 BILLION RANGE!!! I don't see how they could ever recover from a $2 billion debt.*** This post was edited by Scream Machine 9/4/2004 3:31:58 PM ***
Saturday, September 4, 2004 2:49 PM
According to a story on CNN yesterday, the Redskins are the most valuable franchise in the league at $1.1 billion. The second place team is about $200 million under that.
Monday, September 6, 2004 10:09 AM

"In light of the seasonal nature of the business, it is critical that current sales, marketing, and operating practices be corrected quickly in time to impact operating performance in coming seasons," Snyder said in the letter, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

I don't follow sports, but just by that statement alone Synder seems to have some idea what's wrong with SF. Imho, if they fixed their "Operating practices", the parks would see a major climb in attendance and would start on the right path to slowly getting out of debt. By "sales", does he mean to raise prices of admission and food? If so than I dissagree that that would help; it just might even hurt business. Like others here, I think that "marketing" is perfect if we are talking about the new adverts.

If it takes a newbee stockholder to stir things up a little, I'm all for it.

Monday, September 6, 2004 6:00 PM
Dan Snyder has brought the redskins from one of the least valueable up to the #1 most valuable team in the league, according to Forbes. the team has a net worth of $1.1 Billion, far exceeding any other NFL franchise. it's amoney making machine under Snyder.

off topic a bit, i am a redskins fan. i know all about how he has failed so far to put together a real winning team, but sheesh, you can't fault his business acumen. and, hell, he brought JOE GIBBS back, and managed to load the team with some good YOUNG (for once) talent as well, so i can't hate the man for what he's done to the team either.

Monday, September 6, 2004 6:03 PM
and another thing -- when he bought the team, he called our brand-new stadium a "fixer-upper" and i thought he was crazy. however, within a few short years, he really has improved the overall quality by leaps and bounds. he enclosed the entire back section of the club level, carpeted it, and improved the quality of the food. (that's where my tickets are, so i can't comment on other sections of the stadium, but i've heard they've seen similiar improvements)

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