SeaWorld says theme park operator Cedar Fair has rejected takeover bid

Buena Park, CA - May 29: A view of the entrance as park-goers ride the Silver Bullet roller coaster during the re-opening day at Knott's Berry Farm to the full public and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the park after the easing of coronavirus pan

Sandusky, Ohio-based theme park operator Cedar Fair has rejected an unsolicited, non-binding buyout proposal from SeaWorld Entertainment.

"In response to inquiries from various stakeholders, we confirm that our offer to acquire Cedar Fair was rejected. Unfortunately, we do not see a path to a transaction," SeaWorld said in a statement.

Bloomberg was the first to report the news earlier this month, saying that SeaWorld made a bid of around $60 per share, citing people familiar with the matter. 

Cedar Fair owns and operates 13 properties, including 11 amusement parks, four separately gated outdoor water parks, resort accommodations totaling more than 2,300 rooms, and more than 600 luxury RV sites. 

The company's parks include Cedar Point, California's Great America, Knotts Berry Farm, Valleyfair, Carowinds, Kings Dominion, Kings Island, and Dorney Park.

The company, which has been recovering from coronavirus pandemic-induced theme park closures, recently reported a total net income of $148 million for the third quarter of 2021, compared to $190 million during the same period in 2019, and record third-quarter net revenue of $753 million. Third-quarter attendance levels at its parks reached approximately 82% of 2019 levels during the same period. 

Meanwhile, SeaWorld posted third-quarter net income of $102.1 million and revenue of $521.2 million, up 4.2% and 10% compared to the same period in 2019, respectively. Though SeaWorld's third quarter park attendance increased by 5.7 million guests year-over-year to 7.2 million, attendance was down 11% compared to the third quarter of 2019. 

SeaWorld, based in Orlando, operates a dozen SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and Sesame Place parks, primarily in the southern U.S.

Cedar Fair previously rejected a $4 billion takeover offer from Six Flags Entertainment Corporation in 2019.

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