Kings Island owner rejects SeaWorld takeover bid

SANDUSKY, Ohio (WXIX) – Cedar Fair, owner of Kings Island and Cedar Point, has officially turned down SeaWorld Entertainment’s offer to purchase.

SeaWorld announced the news Tuesday evening.

“In response to inquiries from various stakeholders, we confirm that our offer to acquire Cedar Fair has been rejected. Unfortunately, we do not see a path to a transaction,” read a statement from the company.

A Cedar Fair spokesperson declined to comment.

Cedar Fair is expected to announce its fourth quarter and full year 2021 financial results on Wednesday in the hours before market.

Besides Kings Island and Cedar Point, Cedar Fair has 10 other amusement parks, nine water parks and fourteen hotels in North America. From 2019it employs 2,200 full-time employees and 45,100 seasonal workers.

The takeover bid sent shares of the company up 13% to $57.55 when it was announced on Feb. 1. The price has since risen to $61.60.

A statement from Cedar Fair did not reveal the amount of the bid, but Bloomberg called it a cash offer of $3.4 billion, or $60 per unit of share.

Jim Shull, retired executive director of Walt Disney Imagineering, commented on Twitter after the bid emerged, calling SeaWorld’s bid “low ball” given the growth potential of the entertainment and theme park industry post-pandemic.

The move would have cemented two of the biggest players in the theme park industry – the others being Six Flags, Disney Park and Universal Parks and Resorts – in a climate of renewed optimism about a return to normal attendance levels in 2022.

COVID-19 has proven particularly difficult for Cedar Fair, whose share price plunged to $16.28 in April 2020 as industry parks closed under a nationwide curfew. ‘State.

Kings Island, for example, attracted just 1.62 million visitors in 2020, down 54% from 2019’s tally of 3.59 million, per year. global attractions attendance report.

Cedar Point drew 1.02 million, down 72% from 2019’s 3.6 million count.

All major amusement parks have experienced the same thing. Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World fell from 20.9 million visitors to just under 7 million. Disneyland lost 80% of its traffic. SeaWorld lost 65%.

But by the fall of last year, attendance at the Cedar Fair park had largely returned. Net admissions revenue from January to September 2021 was $480 million, compared to just $60 million in the same months in 2020.

The company’s forecast for the third quarter of 2021 noted strong demand, record per capita spending in the park and good prospects in 2022.

Cedar Fair President and CEO Richard Zimmerman touted in the guidance the company’s “rapid recovery from the COVID-19 disruption,” noting the “resilience of the business model.”

SeaWorld has seven theme parks and five water parks. The company’s parks offer rides, including roller coasters, though it’s best known for its marine animal environments and shows featuring killer whales, dolphins, and sea lions.

Those same shows received negative attention after the 2010 death of an orca trainer at SeaWorld Orlando.

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