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Company Profile of Six Flags -
May 13th, 2011
Six Flags Entertainment Corp. is the world's largest amusement park corporation based on quantity of properties and the 4th most popular in terms of attendance. The company maintains 14 properties located throughout North America, including theme parks, thrill parks, water parks and family entertainment centers. In 2009, Six Flags properties hosted 23.9 million guests.
The company was founded in Texas and took its name from its first property, Six Flags Over Texas. The company maintains a corporate office in Midtown Manhattan, New York City and its headquarters are in Grand Prairie, Texas. On June 13, 2009, the corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and successfully exited the restructuring 11 months later on May 3, 2010.
Six Flags, Inc. is the world's largest regional theme park company and the second leading amusement park operator in the United States, Walt Disney Company being the first. The company, which is headquartered in Oklahoma City but also maintains a second corporate office in New York City, runs 39 family-oriented theme parks in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Six Flags estimates that nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population lives within 150 miles of one of its parks, and the properties serve 35 of the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. This marks a key difference between Disney and Six Flags as Disney's parks attract visitors worldwide, whereas Six Flags focuses more on local markets. Six Flags' parks feature thrill rides, animal attractions, upscale restaurants, shows, merchandise outlets, elaborate picnic areas and kiddie attractions, and water slides. Two of the properties--Six Flags Worlds of Adventure in Ohio and Six Flags Darien Lake Resort in New York--include lodging and camping facilities. The company also has exclusive rights to theme park usage of Warner Bros. and DC Comics characters in most of North America, Latin America, and Europe, with many of the parks featuring such characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, Yosemite Sam, Batman, and Superman. Six Flags amusement parks host nearly 50 million guests a year.
Twenty-four of the company's parks are branded with the Six Flags name. Six Flags the company, however, secured that well-known brand only in 1998 when, then known as Premier Parks, Inc., it acquired Six Flags Theme Parks, Inc. The latter traced its origins back to the 1961 opening of Six Flags Over Texas. Premier Parks, which was founded in 1971 and known until 1994 as Tierco Group, Inc., did not enter the amusement park business until the early 1980s. Tierco/Premier became renowned for buying struggling parks and turning them around with expansion and aggressive marketing strategies that targeted families. This strategy has continued at the company under its current configuration, and Six Flags also attempts to maintain a competitive edge by annually adding new rides and attractions to its many parks.
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, formerly Six Flags, Inc., is engaged in owning and operating regional theme amusement and water parks. The Company's theme parks offer family oriented entertainment experience through a selection of traditional thrill rides, water attractions, themed areas, concerts, shows, restaurants, game venues and merchandise outlets. The Company owns and operates 19 parks in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Of the 19 parks owned and operated, 17 are located in the United States. Of the other two, one is located in Mexico City, Mexico, and the other is located in Montreal, Canada.
On June 13, 2009, Six Flags, Inc. (SFI), Six Flags Operations Inc. (SFO) and Six Flags Theme Parks Inc. (SFTP) and certain of SFTP’s domestic subsidiaries (the SFTP Subsidiaries and, collectively with SFI, SFO and SFTP, the Debtors) filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. SFI’s subsidiaries that own interests in Six Flags Over Texas (SFOT) and Six Flags Over Georgia (including Six Flags White Water Atlanta) (SFOG and together with SFOT, the Partnership Parks) and the parks in Canada and Mexico were not debtors in the Chapter 11 Filing. On April 30, 2010, the Debtors emerged from Chapter 11 by consummating their restructuring through a series of transactions contemplated by the Plan and the Plan became effective pursuant to its terms.
The name refers to the six country or national flags that have flown over Texas during its history: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America and the United States of America, not counting the flag of The State of Texas, since becoming a part of the USA.
The Six Flags chain actually began in 1960 by Angus G. Wynne of Arlington, Texas, with the creation of the first (and original) park, "Six Flags Over Texas", opened in 1961, which initially featured a Native American village, a gondola ride, a railroad, some Wild West shows, a stagecoach ride, and "Skull Island", a pirate-themed adventure attraction. There was also an excursion aboard "French" boats through a wilderness full of animated puppets. Over time, all of those attractions, except for the railroad, would be replaced by others, such as roller coasters, swing rides, log flumes, and shoot-the-chute rides, as well as an observation tower.
For the 2000 season, Premier changed four more of its properties into Six Flags sites. In addition to the creation of Six Flags Mexico, Geauga Lake Amusement Park was transformed into Six Flags Ohio, Riverside Park became Six Flags New England, and Walibi Flevo in The Netherlands was renamed Six Flags Holland. The company spent $170 million on the four parks in 2000 to add 13 roller coasters and more than 60 rides. All of the parks would now feature Warner Bros. and DC Comics characters. In mid-2000, Premier Parks took the rebranding to another level by changing the corporate name to Six Flags, Inc. in recognition of the increasing importance of the Six Flags brand. In December 2000 the company expanded into the Pacific Northwest for the first time through the acquisition of the Wild Waves and Enchanted Village park in Federal Way, Washington, near Seattle. Built in the late 1950s, the park, which was acquired from owner Jeff Stock for $19.3 million in stock, was primarily a water park and did not have the full complement of rides that a typical Six Flags outlet featured.
Acquisition activity continued in 2001. In February, Six Flags acquired Sea World of Ohio, a 230-acre marine wildlife park located adjacent to Six Flags of Ohio. The two parks were combined for the 2001 season into Six Flags Worlds of Adventure, a combined theme, water, and marine wildlife park. In May 2001, Six Flags entered the Canadian market by buying La Ronde from the city of Montreal for $20 million. Located near downtown Montreal on the 146-acre site of the 1967 World's Fair, La Ronde was the largest theme park in Quebec. To help fund these acquisitions and to provide further capital for park upgrades, Six Flags completed a convertible preferred stock offering in January 2001 that generated $287.5 million. Also during 2001, Walibi Wavre, the flagship of the Walibi chain, was rebranded Six Flags Belgium. To prepare for the makeover of the Brussels theme park, $30 million was spent to add 15 rides. The move followed the phenomenally successful debut of Six Flags Holland, which according to Amusement Business, increased its attendance from 680,000 in 1999 to nearly 1.5 million in 2000, its first year under the Six Flags banner. Back in the United States, Six Flags Over Georgia tested an electronic queue management system produced by U.K.-based Lo-Q. Guests at the park were given the option of renting for $10 a small paging device called a Q-Bot that enabled them to reserve a place in line for particular rides. Guests could thus place themselves into a virtual queue and were free to do something else in the interim. The test was a resounding success, and Six Flags introduced the system into eight more U.S. parks for the 2002 season.
Despite all of the optimistic expansionary moves that the company was making, Six Flags' financial performance was not stellar in the early 2000s. Attendance at a number of U.S. parks was depressed by abnormally cool and wet weather in the summer of 2000, while revenues from the European parks were impacted by the decline in the value of the Euro versus the dollar. During 2001 Six Flags felt the effects of both the economic downturn and the aftermath of the events of September 11; the company estimated that it lost a minimum of $25 million in revenue during the four weeks that followed September 11. Although Six Flags surpassed the $1 billion revenue mark for the first time in 2000 and managed to eke out a 3.9 percent revenue increase in 2001, the company posted net losses for both years: $52 million in 2000 and $58.1 million the following year. Saddled with more than $2.2 billion in long-term debt, which resulted in annual interest expenses of more than $220 million, Six Flags had virtually no chance of making a profit during these years when the operating environment was so negative.
The company's troubles continued in 2002. In August of that year, Six Flags' stock fell 57 percent in one day after the company posted an unexpected loss for the second quarter--driven by an 11 percent drop in park attendance--and warned that it was unlikely to achieve its full-year financial goals. Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, through his private investment fund, Cascade Investment, took advantage of the depressed price to increase his stake in the company to 10.2 percent. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. Movie World Madrid opened in April 2002. Construction of the $400 million park was funded almost entirely by other parties as Six Flags held just a 5 percent ownership stake but had a contract to manage the park for 99 years in return for a fee equal to 2.5 percent of the park's revenues. In August 2002 Six Flags secured its 39th park by acquiring Jazzland, a 140-acre theme park located outside New Orleans.
Principal Operating Units: Enchanted Village & Wild Waves; Frontier City; The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom; Jazzland Theme Park; Six Flags America; Six Flags AstroWorld; Six Flags Darien Lake Resort; Six Flags Elitch Gardens; Six Flags Fiesta Texas; Six Flags Great Adventure; Six Flags Great America; Six Flags Hurricane Harbor (Arlington, Texas); Six Flags Hurricane Harbor (Jackson, N.J.); Six Flags Hurricane Harbor (Valencia, Calif.); Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom; Six Flags Magic Mountain; Six Flags Marine World; Six Flags New England; Six Flags Over Georgia; Six Flags Over Texas; Six Flags St. Louis; Six Flags SplashTown; Six Flags WaterWorld; Six Flags White Water; Six Flags Wild Safari Animal Park; Six Flags Worlds of Adventure; Waterworld USA (Concord, Calif.); Waterworld USA (Sacramento, Calif.); White Water Bay; Wyandot Lake; La Ronde Theme Park (Canada); Six Flags Mexico; Bellewaerde (Belgium); Six Flags Belgium; Walibi Aquitaine (France); Walibi Rhōne-Alpes (France); Walibi Schtroumpf (France); Warner Bros. Movie World (Germany); Six Flags Holland (Netherlands); Warner Bros. Movie World (Spain).
Principal Competitors: Walt Disney Company; Universal Studios Recreation Group; Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.; Cedar Fair, L.P.; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Viacom Inc.; Euro Disney S.C.A.
Market Cap (Mil.): $2,133.77
Shares Outstanding (Mil.): 27.58
Annual Dividend: 0.24
Yield (%): 0.31
SIX Industry Sector
P/E (TTM): 3.46 23.50 21.07
EPS (TTM): 976.98 -- --
ROI: 33.82 2.25 1.78
ROE: -- 3.04 2.74
Incorporated: 1971 as Tierco Group, Inc.
Sales: $1.05 billion (2001)
Stock Exchanges: New York
Ticker Symbol: PKS
NAIC: 713110 Amusement and Theme Parks
1958: The Frontier City theme park opens in Oklahoma City.
1961: Angus Wynne and partners open Six Flags Over Texas.
1963: Six Flags Over Texas unveils the world's first log flume ride.
1966: Operation of the first-ever steel roller coaster begins at Six Flags Over Texas; Wynne sells his amusement park to Penn Central Corp.
1967: Six Flags expands by opening a new park in Atlanta, Six Flags Over Georgia.
1971: Tierco Group, Inc., an Oklahoma-based real estate company, is incorporated; Six Flags opens a new park in Eureka, Missouri, called Six Flags Over Mid-America (later renamed Six Flags St. Louis).
1978: Six Flags Great Adventure opens in Jackson, New Jersey.
1979: Six Flags acquires Magic Mountain in Valencia, California.
1982: Tierco acquires Frontier City; Penn Central sells the Six Flags chain to Bally Manufacturing Corporation.
1984: Gary Story is hired as general manager of Frontier City and soon quadruples the park's attendance and revenues; Six Flags Great America opens near Chicago; Six Flags Corporation acquires theme park rights to Warner Bros. animated characters.
1987: Wesray Capital Corporation buys Six Flags Corporation in a leveraged buyout.
1989: Kieran E. Burke is hired as president and CEO of Tierco and leads shift from real estate to amusement parks.
1990: Time Warner Inc. acquires 19.5 percent stake in Six Flags Corporation.
1991: Six Flags changes owners again--Time Warner increases its stake to 50 percent and two New York investment firms, the Blackstone Group and Wertheim Schroder & Company, acquire the other 50 percent.
1992: Tierco acquires Wild World amusement park, located in Largo, Maryland (later renamed Adventure World).
1993: Time Warner acquires full control of Six Flags Theme Parks, Inc.
1994: Tierco changes its name to Premier Parks, Inc.; Story is promoted to president and COO of Premier, while Burke becomes chairman and CEO.
1995: Premier acquires three parks from Funtime Parks, Inc.
1996: Premier acquires Elitch Gardens in Denver and goes public.
1997: Premier acquires Riverside Park (near Boston) and Kentucky Kingdom and begins managing Marine World, near San Francisco.
1998: Walibi Family Parks, which owns six parks in Europe, is purchased by Premier; Premier Parks acquires Six Flags Theme Parks and its 12 parks in a $1.86 billion deal; Premier begins transforming some of its parks into Six Flags sites, the first being Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.
1999: Adventure World is rebranded Six Flags America; Premier acquires its first Mexican theme park, Reino Adventura, which is renamed Six Flags Mexico, as well as Warner Bros. Movie World in Düsseldorf, Germany.
2000: Geauga Lake park is renamed Six Flags Ohio, Riverside Park is transformed into Six Flags New England, and Walibi Flevo becomes Six Flags Holland; Premier Parks changes its name to Six Flags, Inc.
2001: Sea World of Ohio is acquired and is combined with Six Flags Ohio to form Six Flags Worlds of Adventure; Six Flags expands into Canada through the purchase of La Ronde, located in Montreal; Walibi Wavre is renamed Six Flags Belgium.
Name Age Since Current Position
James Reid-Anderson 52 2010 Chairman of the Board, President, Chief Executive Officer
John Duffey 50 2010 Chief Financial Officer
Alexander Weber 59 2010 Chief Operating Officer
Michael Israel 44 2010 Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer
Brett Petit 47 2010 Senior Vice President - Marketing
Nancy Krejsa 53 2010 Senior Vice President - Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
Walter Hawrylak 63 2002 Senior Vice President - Administration
John Bement 58 2010 Senior Vice President - In-Park Services
Tom Iven 52 2010 Senior Vice President - Park Operation, West Coast
David McKillips 39 2010 Senior Vice President - Corporate Alliances
John Odum 53 2010 Senior Vice President - Park Operations, East Coast
Leonard Russ 37 2010 Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer
Lance Balk 53 2010 General Counsel
Jon Luther 67 2010 Lead Independent Director
Usman Nabi 36 2010 Independent Director
Richard Roedel 61 2010 Independent Director
John Baker 47 2010 Independent Director
Kurt Cellar 41 2010 Independent Director
Charles Koppelman 70 2010 Independent Director
Stephen Owens 40 2010 Independent Director
11501 Northeast Expressway
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73131-6416