Who would be interested in buying them?
For one thing, i seriously doubt SF would purchase the parks, given there current financial situation. What are your thoughts?
I suppose that if they were sold, none of the other major chains would buy them (CF, Six Flags, ect.).
I would bet that they would be bought by some group of investors, if they are bought at all, which, as I stated, I doubt.
There's been talk of some type of management buyout -- sorry, I don't remember the details at the moment. I'd guess the chain would stay intact if that's the case.
If Paramount is set on focusing on core businesses and wants to sell the chain, they would certainly be happy to sell them piecemeal -- Cedar Fair buys PKD, park management buys PKI, maybe Six Flags buys PGA to get a matched set (of a sort) of Great Americas.
Of course 13 years of the Bengals is a exception.
But this does bring up an interesting topic for discussion. With the level of theming that Paramount puts into some of their rides and the copyrights and trademarks that are attached, it would be pretty interesting to see another chain try to retheme and rename the rides.
At least with SFWoA, the theming was pretty limited. But when you have things straight out of Paramount movies, that's a different story. Would Paramount require any theming that directly reflects Paramount copyrights or trademarks be removed? I guess it wouldn't be a problem for most rides but I'm thinking of TR:TR and IJ:ST and maybe some of the Top Guns. If they had to gut the theming, TR:TR would be just a topspin in a box after all.
I'm surprised nobody has reported this yet.
As to why Paramount would install heavily themed coasters, with a Paramount-owned movie theme, if they were thinking to sell the chain, the decision to (not to mention the investment in) add the Italian Job coasters predates Viacom's interest in selling the unit.
Nothing saying Viacom can't license some or all of its properties to whatever company/companies buy the parks, avoiding the whole re-naming headache. Six Flags really had no choice but to take Batman and friends with them when they sold SFWoA; they license those properties from Time Warner, and couldn't re-license them to another party. Viacom could license Italian Job coasters, or Tomb Raider rides, to every park that asked. *** Edited 3/13/2005 3:00:46 AM UTC by slithernoggin***
My thinking is that as long as they're not a drain, there's little harm in keeping them, but I don't think like someone on the board of a giant company.
Jeff said: My thinking is that as long as they're not a drain, there's little harm in keeping them, but I don't think like someone on the board of a giant company.
I don't know about PKI but for the last few years PKD has gradually cut back on optimal services. ie: 1 lap bar checker and one train operations when not seriously busy. some shops open later, some coasters don't open til noon. removing rides and leaving the area closed for 1 or 2 years before using the land for something else.
Fortunately in most situations the quality of service provided makes the shortages acceptable, but I have heard people grumbling about 1 train ops.
I Still love PKD and even with the issues above they easily outshine other parks i've been to.
slithernoggin said:...maybe Six Flags buys PGA to get a matched set (of a sort) of Great Americas.
Then they could build houses (evenly, of course) and hotels!
Or at least charge double rent.
Keep in mind that Viacom isn't talking about selling the parks because they're desperate to get out of a money losing business. Quite the contrary, actually. One of the points that Kieren Burke made in the SF conference call is that the reason they wouldn't be interested is because the parks unit is expected to sell for a very high multiple. (Of course, I can think of a few billion other reasons why SF couldn't be a serious contender <g>...)
The win/win situation for Viacom is to sell the parks to a group of investors and continue to license their media properties to the parks. (The group led by former Viacom exec Tom McGrath seems especially likely.) That way they get the benefit of getting the theme park business off their balance sheet, while still enjoying the synergistic benefits. (Although, I think the argument can be made that Viacom has never really shown itself to be that great at exploiting synergies...)
When I first heard about Viacom's possible sale of the parks, I just wrote it off as a rumor. However, after I heard that they sold off the Famous Players Theater chain, I changed my mind. The theater chain was Sumner Redstone's first business, and the start of what eventually became Viacom. I figure if he's willing to sell off his first business, anything is possible at that point.
There's one other scenario I'll throw out... What if Viacom spun off Paramount Parks as an independent company in an IPO, like they did with Blockbuster? At that point, maybe a "merger of equals" with another park operator would be much more likely, since it could involve a stock swap as opposed to cash. Imagine the value of an independent Parmount Parks merged with Cedar Fair... That could be a nice little going away gift from Dick Kinzel to CF shareholders <g>. (<<<the preceeding paragraph is 100% speculation that comes from watching way too many hours of "Squawk Box".)
(Although, I think the argument can be made that Viacom has never really shown itself to be that great at exploiting synergies...)
There have been times when I've wonder if anyone knew what they were doing at Viacom. The company owns an outstanding stable of brands: Star Trek, Nick, MTV, many others. When they decided to open retail store, following the Disney Store and Warner Bros. Studio Store operations, did they slap any of those brands on stores? No, they named it the Viacom Entertainment Store, thus ensuring that two stories of prime real estate on Chicago's Michigan Avenue would remain forever clear and free.
I've also wondered on occasion about the theme parks. Again, all those brands. Most kids rides have gotten Nick themes, some rides are themed after movies that, for the most part, we can probably say aren't the most popular films in the Paramount portfolio, and they have a Star Trek themed coaster. They have never seemed to make use of all the golden opportunities.
Ah, but what's the use of wondering...
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