Carowinds parent company, Six Flags merging, will headquarter in Charlotte

The combined company will operate a total of 27 amusement parks, 15 water parks and nine resorts.
The merge is expected to close during the first half of 2024.
Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 9:12 AM EDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2023 at 12:19 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The parent company of Carowinds, Cedar Fair, and Six Flags are merging to create a new $8 billion company that will be headquartered in Charlotte.

The two companies announced the merge on Thursday, combining to operate a total of 27 amusement parks, 15 water parks and nine resorts across the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“Our merger with Six Flags will bring together two of North America’s iconic amusement park companies to establish a highly diversified footprint and a more robust operating model to enhance park offerings and performance,” Richard Zimmerman, president and CEO of Cedar Fair, said. “Together, we will have an expanded and complementary portfolio of attractive assets and intellectual property to deliver engaging entertainment experiences for guests.”

Zimmerman will continue to serve as the CEO of the combined company, while Selim Bassoul, president and CEO of Six Flags, will serve as executive chairman of the combined company’s Board of Directors.

The newly formed Board of Directors will consist of 12 directors, six from the Cedar Fair Board and six from the Six Flags Board.

A press release stated that the combined company will be headquartered in the Queen City, with significant finance and administrative operations in Sandusky, Ohio. Cedar Fair currently has a corporate office in Charlotte about 10 minutes away from Carowinds on Red Oak Boulevard.

WBTV talked to amusement park fans near Carowinds about the planned merger.

“It’s exciting, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it this morning,” said Tom Fitch, an amusement park fan.

Doug Cannon, a Carowinds Season pass holder said, “overall, this is going to be great for both companies, also, I think it’s going to be great for the area. It’s going to bring in more people which I think will bring in more business.”

According to the investor presentation, the planner merger will enhance the guest experience.

- More diversified guest experience across various live entertainment formats.

- Partnerships with leading entertainment businesses.

- A robust operating platform.

- Create a more engaging and immersive guest experience.

- Greater flexibility to invest in new rides and attractions.

- Expanded park access offering to season pass holders.

Cannon said, “I’m hoping under the Six Flags banner we can bring in more attractions maybe, or also bring in more variety style of rides because mostly there’s not a lot of roller coasters in the park, there’s like a handful of coasters. Most of them ate like little dinky rides and amusement type things, it’s not the roller coaster park whereas Six Flags has a lot of roller coasters.”

Fitch added, “I think it’s going to bring a higher standard of roller coaster to be honest with you, it’ll be the best of the best because Cedar Fair has always been the best in my opinion.”

Other benefits of merger:

- Enhance season pass program.

- Fully optimized Flash Pass/Fast Lane program.

- Improved food and merchandise offerings.

The company tells WBTV parks will not see a name change once the merger is official.

“I love that, I grew up on Carowinds when it was owned by Paramount, now Cedar Fairs, so the Carowinds name I think for this area, people will come just for the name of Carowinds,” said Cannon.

According to data from the third quarter of 2023, the combined company would have brought in $3.4 billion in revenue with a total attendance of 48 million people.

The merger is expected to close during the first half of 2024, pending regulatory and stakeholder approval.

Related: Carowinds will not be open year-round in 2024

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