Amusement Giants Six Flags And Cedar Fair To Merge, Create Rollercoaster Juggernaut

$3.5 Billion Deal Combines Two Iconic Brands Into 27-Park Colossus

The rumored union of two towering titans in family entertainment became official Thursday as regional theme park operators Six Flags and Cedar Fair announced plans to combine into a rollercoaster megacorporation spanning the continent.

The $3.5 billion merger agreement will fuse brands behind 27 total parks and water parks plus resorts and entertainment partnerships across 17 U.S. states, Canada, and Mexico. The enlarged company will marshal intellectual property including DC Comics and Looney Tunes characters alongside Cedar Fair’s Peanuts gang and trademark coasters.

Cedar Fair unitholders will retain majority stake while both current CEOs assume leadership roles in the amalgamated entity. The deal enables two firms facing pandemic recovery headwinds to trim costs by optimizing duplicative functions.

Officials forecast initial savings nearing $120 million within two years as the unlikely partners capitalize on little geographical overlap between respective properties. Critically, blending diffuse seasonal visitor flows could help smooth volatile attendance swings tied to the yearly calendar.

“Our merger with Six Flags will bring together two of North America’s iconic amusement park companies to establish a highly diversified footprint,” said Cedar Fair chief Richard Zimmerman, the projected chief executive. He said the expanded variety of offerings and locations would enhance performance.

Still, the blockbuster transaction requires clearance by Six Flags shareholders when votes occur in 2023. If approved, operations will blend under the Six Flags banner and “FUN” ticker symbol while corporate headquarters shift from Texas to Charlotte.

But a closing expected by mid-year would mark a major shakeup for the leisure sector regardless. By conjoining two purveyors of world-class coasters and family entertainment, consumers from California to New Jersey can expect a behemoth doubling down on thrills.

For shareholders, the hope is creating scale big enough to sustain capital investments needed to keep audiences flocking back year after year. Because while Americans have returned to live events, coaxing them to theme parks remains an uphill climb.

Photo by Katya Wolf