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Six Flags Spending $23 Million Adding Five Parks to Portfolio

Amusement Park Corporation to Expand Reach in Houston, Phoenix, Buffalo and Oklahoma City, Will Become Largest Waterpark Operator in North America
May 26, 2018
Pictured: Frontier City in Oklahoma City.

Six Flags Entertainment Corp. will pay Oklahoma City-based Premier Parks LLC $23 million to buy the exclusive lease rights to five amusement parks.

The deal includes Frontier City and White Water Bay in Oklahoma City; Wet n’ Wild Splashtown Waterpark in Houston; Wet n’ Wild Waterpark in Phoenix; and Darien Lake, a 1,000-acre property near Buffalo, NY, that includes an amusement park, water park, hotel, campground and large amphitheater.

Upon closing, Six Flags would operate 25 parks in North America. Already the largest regional theme park operator in the world, the deal also cements Six Flags as the largest waterpark operator in North America.

The transaction is slated to close in June.

Last year, the five parks welcomed a combined two million guests. The deal adds 20 million potential guests within a 100-mile radius of Six Flag parks, significantly expanding the brand’s national footprint.

The five parks are owned by EPR Properties, which acquired them along with seven other theme parks last year, hiring Premier Parks LLC to operate them.

Last month, Reid-Anderson announced the company planned to purchase more parks in close proximity to properties it already owned, aiming to give visitors good reason to come back to parks, upgrading one-time guests to season pass holders.

"Today’s announcement represents another milestone in our strategic North American growth initiative to seek out park acquisitions that expand our addressable market," Six Flags Chairman, President and Chief Executive Jim Reid-Anderson said in a statement.

Six Flags and Premier Parks LLC share several common threads. Premier Parks LLC chairman and Chief Executive Kieran Burke formerly was the CEO of Six Flags, and several other former Six Flags executives work for Premier Parks LLC. Burke led Six Flags during its 1998 acquisition by Premier Parks Inc. for $1.9 billion. Burke took the company public through a stock offering and moved its corporate headquarters to Oklahoma City before being removed as CEO in 2005.

Six Flags sold Frontier City and White Water Bay not long after, moving its headquarters once again, this time to New York City. In 2009, Six Flags declared bankruptcy, changing its controlling ownership and moving its corporate headquarters to Grand Prairie TX. That same year, Burke formed Premier Parks LLC in Oklahoma City.

Kyle Hagerty, Houston Reporter  CoStar Group   
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