In a deal that shakes up the U.S. theme parks business, Six Flags and Cedar Fair have agreed to merge, creating an $8 billion parks giant that the companies hope will be able to better compete with parks from the likes of the Walt Disney Co. and Comcast’s NBCUniversal.
The all-stock deal will merge the portfolios of both companies, creating a behemoth with 27 theme parks, 15 water parks, 9 hotels and resorts as well as safaris, marinas and other properties across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Notably, the two companies are also highlighting how merging their licensed IP portfolio will help them develop “engaging new attractions.”
Six Flags has a deal with Warner Bros. Discovery for rights to characters from DC Comics and Looney Tunes, while Cedar Fair holds the rights to the Peanuts comic universe.
The merger comes amid something of a theme park boom, with both Disney and NBCUniversal seeing huge growth and profits in their theme park portfolios.
The merger deal comes as both NBCUniversal and Disney are expanding their respective theme parks’ business lines, with Disney committing $60 billion to grow its theme parks in California, Florida and around the world, and Universal developing a new theme park in Texas and a live Halloween Horror Nights attraction in Las Vegas.
Cedar Fair and Six Flags note in their merger deal that by combining they will have greater geographic diversity, with parks in Florida, California and other parts of the south able to stay open all year, even as they have to close parks in the northeast and midwest over the winter.
The combined company will operate under the Six Flags name and will trade under the ticker symbol FUN.