Friday, January 12, 2007

Six Flags to sell Concord's Waterworld USA, other parks

Six Flags to sell Concord's Waterworld USA, other parks

East Bay Business Times - 10:19 AM PST Thursday

by Jeff Clabaugh

Six Flags Theme Parks Inc. has announced it found a buyer who will pay $312 million for seven of its parks, including Waterworld USA in Concord.

After the announcement, Six Flags' stock jumped as much as 10 percent, its biggest one-day gain in two months. Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, is Six Flags' largest shareholder.

Six Flags, which said last June it would seek buyers for some of its parks to raise cash for debt reduction, will sell the parks to PARC 7F-Operations, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based company run by a former Six Flags Over Texas vice president, Michael Jenkins.

PARC, in turn, plans to sell the parks to CNL Income Properties, a Florida real estate investment trust whose holdings include ski resorts and golf courses, but PARC will operate the properties under long-term leases.

The parks included in the sale are Waterworld USA in Concord, Six Flags Darien Lake in Buffalo, N.Y., Six Flags Elitch Gardens in Denver, Frontier City and White Water Bay in Oklahoma City, SplashTown in Houston, and Wild Waves and Enchanted Village in Seattle. Combined, the seven parks had attendance of 3.6 million in 2006.

The sale is expected to close in March, according to a Six Flags statement.

Snyder took control of Six Flags in a boardroom battle in 2005 that led to the departure of the company's former chief executive. Snyder replaced several board members and top executives with his own team.

Six Flags' stock (NYSE: SIX) was up 42 cents to $5.85 per share in Thursday trading. Its shares have lost 36 percent of their value in the last year.

Clabaugh is a reporter for the Washington Business Journal.

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