Would Busch consider purchasing SFMW?

Saturday, December 18, 2004 12:20 AM
With this news story, it had me wondering.

After the 3 year extension for Six Flags to purchase Marine World runs out and they don't exercise the option, would the city approach Busch to possibly purchase the park and convert it to a Sea World? The only thing I see where Busch wouldn't be interested is that the park has an offseason.

Just a thought. :)

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Saturday, December 18, 2004 12:29 AM
Seems like Cedar Fair would be the more probable candidate, when was the last time Busch bought a park anyway?

I say Cedar Fair, just because they bought Geauga Lake in a somewhat surprising move.

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Saturday, December 18, 2004 12:30 AM
Sure, it's possible, but I don't think SFI will let the park go unless they absolutly need to. SFMW is doing quite well and there's really no reason for SF to let it go.
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Saturday, December 18, 2004 12:41 AM
If Cedar Fair bought the park, where would all the animals go? They already had to leave their home in Ohio because of Cedar Fair since they have no interest in animal parks anymore.

Busch would seem like the most likely candidate, but, I'm not sure if they would be interested or not. Remember, Busch does operate seasonal parks, including one of its Sea Worlds (Texas). The others being Busch Gardens & Water Country USA in Williamsburg, and Sesame Place near Philadelphia. (Which makes the seasonal excuse for selling Sea World Ohio seem really 'fishy'! It had to do more with their restrictive no-ride lease, I feel, than anything else and the great offer that they got from Six Flags at the time.)

I suppose if the price were right, and the facility met their standards, it might be possible for them to buy it. It's at least a 400 mile drive between Sea World in San Diego and SF Marine World, so it wouldn't be competing with themselves. Of course, Six Flags is still in charge of the park, and I feel will try to remain there for the time being. *** Edited 12/18/2004 5:46:30 AM UTC by Brother Dave*** *** Edited 12/18/2004 1:30:20 PM UTC by Brother Dave***

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Saturday, December 18, 2004 1:31 AM
Coaster Lover.. "unless they absolutely need to"? Hmm, perhaps a continued plummeting of company value and need for $$ may make it a "need to". I wouldn't be surprised to see a sudden belly-up of the entire SFI. It'd be interesting to see what would happen to the parks. Would they just shut down completely, or be taken over by other companies? (Paramount, Busch, CF, Disney..)

Brother Dave.. proximity doesn't matter too much - look at Geauga Lake and Cedar Point (oh wait, that was CF :) )

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Saturday, December 18, 2004 1:37 AM
BrotherDave it wasn't the seasonal aspect by itself, it was that combined with the need to upgrade the facilities to the new federal standards. The numbers just didn't pencil out.
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Saturday, December 18, 2004 5:03 AM
.. not to mention that in the GL deal, part of the sale was that SF got to keep their animals (after having to shell out all the cash after buying SFO from Busch WITHOUT animals and re-populate the park) it would have cost CF a small fortune to update AND stock the park.

Funny thing is, alot of the marine life animals didn't even GO to another SF park. The majority were sold to various other parks and aquariums. Just trying to recover costs I would think.

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Saturday, December 18, 2004 11:05 AM

dannerman said:
Coaster Lover.. "unless they absolutely need to"? Hmm, perhaps a continued plummeting of company value and need for $$ may make it a "need to".

Huh? How could they sell a park they don't own for profit?


I wouldn't be surprised to see a sudden belly-up of the entire SFI.

Not...gonna...happen. Do you think Bill Gates and the 'Skins owner has bought huge stakes in the chain because they expect it to fail? It's a viable product with a marketable name and good upside potential in the right hands.

Go under? Nope. Change management? It could happen, but to be perfectly honest, I doubt that too. They'd have to seriously bungle 2005 first.

-'Playa

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Saturday, December 18, 2004 11:24 AM
It's not so much that CF isn't interested in Animal Parks- they are not allowed to have them- Remember the Dolphin Show at CP? The ASPCA shut that down and fined CF
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Saturday, December 18, 2004 12:04 PM
They'd have to seriously bungle 2005 first.

They'd still blame it on the weather ;)

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Saturday, December 18, 2004 12:54 PM
Well this time they can what with all the "tornado sightings" that'll be made at SF parks in 2005 :).
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Saturday, December 18, 2004 1:01 PM
CoasterPlaya, it's not so much selling as reduced operating costs.

I'm not talking within the next year, I mean about 5-10 years (I consider that "soon" in the amusement industry, what with lead times on coasters around 2 years)

Also, just because you have influential people doesn't mean they can't make mistakes in stock. Just because Bill Gates buys something doesn't automatically mean it can't die. All it means is that it's popular. Six Flags is probably the most recognized amusement park chain (next to perhaps Disney). Heck, before I really got into Coasters, Six Flags was the only "chain" that I knew of. Paramount did movies, Busch did beer, never heard of Cedar Fair (gasp!), but I heard of Six Flags.. "A World of fun, not a world away!"

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Saturday, December 18, 2004 4:32 PM
Coasterpiglet.. your information is wrong.. They are allowed to have animals. They just choose not to..

They stick with what they are good at.. rides...

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Saturday, December 18, 2004 5:17 PM
Yeah, if they are allowed to handle people, they are probably allowed to handle animals. ;)
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Saturday, December 18, 2004 9:10 PM
I would say neither Cedar Fair or Busch will buy Marine World. Look for a company on the way up looking to buy thier first real major park........someone like Palace Entertainment. That park really needs the animals and Cedar Fair wants no animals.
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Saturday, December 18, 2004 9:33 PM

Coasterpiglet said:
It's not so much that CF isn't interested in Animal Parks- they are not allowed to have them- Remember the Dolphin Show at CP? The ASPCA shut that down and fined CF
Wrong! After the last dolphin died, they decided not to carry on the show and the last one (two?) were sold.

Where do people get this nonsense?

The way I understand it, Vallejo gets a nice chunk of rent for owning the park. I get the distinct impression that the city isn't all that anxious to close the deal.

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Sunday, December 19, 2004 3:28 PM
To be honest, the primary reason I *would* have said NOT Busch is because they really were engaged in a policy of NOT spending money on their theme parks' divsion....

Then came '04, and Busch seems to be spending quite freely (and MAYBE even wisely) on their theme parks...

Certainly CF seems unlikely to want to get involved in animals, and this park seems to me to be even MORE tied in to their marine life than GL/SFWoA was...

I think this is a bit much for some newcomer in the industry to bite off...

And I agree that Vallejo really LIKES the income they generate from renting the park....sure, they WOULD sell the land outright, but not without taking a *pound of flesh* from the buyer...

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Sunday, December 19, 2004 3:59 PM
I too doubt if either party is in any great hurry to end the relationship between SF and Vallejo. While I'm sure the city wouldn't mind getting the park (specifically, its debt) off their balance sheet, it sounds like the arrangement is providing the city with regular, consistent revenue that more than covers the service on the debt. On the other side of the coin, management contracts are generally pretty lucrative for the managing company. So, it's probably a pretty good deal for SF as well.

Also, while the city owns the park, SF has some substantial equity invested in the capital improvements made over the last few years. I would imagine they'd want some of that equity back if the city sold the park to another operator. (What do you think the depreciation schedule is on a coaster? Ten to fifteen years or so?)

Joel

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Monday, December 20, 2004 2:40 PM
I would be all for Anheuser Busch getting this park... How much land does it have for expansion... Because they love expanding their parks to attract more people. Look at their Sea World Adventure Parks... Texas' Has the most rides I think... But that’s cause Orlando has almost no room to expand unless into the parking lot, and San Diego has to go through a lot of red tape to build a ride... but look at what they can build.....
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Monday, December 20, 2004 5:11 PM
I think Jeff has a point. I think both parties are happy with what they have right now.
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