What exactly are the chances of Paramounts being sold?

Saturday, March 12, 2005 3:34 PM
With rumblings around the business as well as the amusement world, pointing too the direction that the parks could be sold. Just how likely is the chance for Paramount to sell these parks?

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?

Saturday, March 12, 2005 3:38 PM
I would say that there is no chance that Paramount would sell their parks.

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.

Saturday, March 12, 2005 3:48 PM
Personally, I hope it all stays as is, or is bought by a group that creates an even better environment to enjoy. I feel like Paramount does a pretty good job. Sure, it's never going to feel like a small home town park, ala HW, but that doesn't negate the overall positive feeling people seem to have when attending PKI, PCW, or PKD.

Saturday, March 12, 2005 3:59 PM
^^ I agree with you, PKI is an awesome park. I love the overall atmosphere at that place. The coaster selection is decent as well.
Saturday, March 12, 2005 4:02 PM
There'a always a chance. Who expected Six Flags to pop up one day and buy Sea World Ohio? Cedar Fair buying WoA caught me completely by surprise. There's always a chance.

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.

Saturday, March 12, 2005 5:08 PM
If SF where to buy a former Paramount park, Id love to see them purchase PKI. I dont know much about Paramount parks, but PKI is an awesome park, its the only one i have been too.
Saturday, March 12, 2005 5:50 PM
I wouldn't want to see PKI get destroyed by SF. The other thing is that SF already owns a park that is barely across the Ohio River. It is called Kentucky Kingdom.
Saturday, March 12, 2005 6:39 PM
If SF bought PKI, It would be the end of Kings Island. People hwre don't put up with the crappy service for long.

Of course 13 years of the Bengals is a exception.


Saturday, March 12, 2005 7:06 PM
At least the Bengals have been to the Super Bowl, Chuck. That beats the Seahawks. :/
Saturday, March 12, 2005 7:47 PM
^ All i have to say is 1964, the last time ANY major sport team in Cleveland Ohio has won a championship (Browns 1964). I don't think other people realize how crappy cleveland sports truly are. Ah whatever, Hopefully Lebron will do something about that
Saturday, March 12, 2005 8:31 PM
If Paramount was on the brink of selling their parks, why would they add two heavily themed coasters for this summer? Doesn't seem like something that would be done if they were really considering selling the parks. Now maybe a non-themed coaster would make sense to keep the locals happy. But when Paramount owns the rights to the movies that they theme some of their rides to, it just doesn't make sense. What would any other chain do with the two IJ:ST coasters. Make them into Mini Cooper:The Ride.

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.

Saturday, March 12, 2005 9:41 PM
This story says that Viacom is considering selling Paramount Parks. So, I wouldn't exactly rule it out as being impossible.

I'm surprised nobody has reported this yet.

Saturday, March 12, 2005 9:59 PM
That story has appeared in other places, as well as the Post.

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***

Saturday, March 12, 2005 10:10 PM
It's not that the parks aren't doing well or that they don't want to continue investing in them, it's that Viacom apparently feels that they should stick to certain core competencies, namely media. We've heard rumblings along those lines for years from Busch and Vivendi as well (before they sold their parks to NBC/GE).

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.

Saturday, March 12, 2005 10:47 PM

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.

Sunday, March 13, 2005 12:42 AM
HOPEFULLY if the parks are sold the new owner would also buy the licensing rights to the theme/names of the rides. As happy as many of us were to have Cedar Fair purchase Geauga Lake I was still somewhat disapointed that I couldn't let my son experience a Batman themed ride or have my little girl playing in Bugs Bunny land this past summer. That's just the parent in me talking. You kids will understand someday.
Sunday, March 13, 2005 12:44 AM

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.

Sunday, March 13, 2005 1:34 AM
Ha! Two points to you for noting that ya gotta build evenly when you're playing Monopoly...
Sunday, March 13, 2005 9:53 AM
I think it's unlikely that any of the major park operators will make a play for Paramount Parks--particularly as an entire chain. (I'm not unique in this thought, Dennis Spiegel with ITPS said the same thing in an article...) The cost (estimated at $1B) would be prohibitive for most companies (including Cedar Fair), and the ones that could afford it (NBC/Universal, Disney, etc.) have not indicated a desire to expand their theme park business--particularly to the seasonal/regional level.

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".)

Sunday, March 13, 2005 10:26 AM

JZarley said:

(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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