Six Flags Investor May Enter Talks on Possible Acquisition

From Bloomberg News

Weitz & Co., the third-largest shareholder of Six Flags Inc., may enter into talks with third parties concerning a possible acquisition of the amusement park operator, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday.

The Omaha-based investment advisor may also seek talks with Six Flags’ management, according to its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Weitz has an almost 11% stake in Six Flags.

Shares of Six Flags rose 20 cents to $7.07.

Oklahoma City-based Six Flags put itself up for sale last month after another major investor, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, offered to pay 18% more than the closing price that day to boost his Six Flags stake to 34.9% from 11.7%.


Snyder said he would oust Six Flags’ top management, including replacing Chief Executive Kieran Burke with Mark Shapiro, an executive vice president at Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN cable network.

Six Flags, owner of the Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor amusement parks in Valencia, has reported annual losses for the last six years.

On Aug. 25, Six Flags said it would seek buyers for the company and oppose Snyder’s attempt to take control.

Weitz & Co. is headed by Wallace Weitz, a major investor in cable television operators Adelphia Communications Corp. and Charter Communications Inc.

Weitz and Snyder are “ganging up on management to make changes, to explore strategic options,” said Kit Spring, an analyst with Denver-based Stifel Nicolaus & Co.

“They could sell off some of the parks piecemeal,” which would probably create more value for shareholders than an outright sale, he said.

The second-biggest Six Flags investor is Cascade Management, Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates’ private investment fund, which has also expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s performance.