SeaWorld plan to buy Cedar Fair falls short
Image via AP.

'Unfortunately, we do not see a path to a transaction.'

Orlando-based SeaWorld Entertainment unsuccessfully tried to buy Cedar Fair parks and doesn’t expect to reach a deal, the company confirmed Tuesday night.

“In response to inquiries from various stakeholders, we confirm that our offer to acquire Cedar Fair was rejected,” the company said in a brief news release Tuesday after the markets closed.

“Unfortunately, we do not see a path to a transaction.”

Bloomberg had reported SeaWorld offered $3.4 billion — or about $60 per share — to buy Ohio-based Cedar Fair, which operates 11 parks across the country, including Cedar Point and Kings Island in Ohio, as well as Knott’s Berry Farm in California and Michigan’s Adventure.

Meanwhile, SeaWorld Entertainment operates 12 theme parks, including SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

The talk of a SeaWorld and Cedar Fair deal hit media reports and social media earlier this month.

Cedar Fair previously said it would review SeaWorld’s unsolicited offer.

“Consistent with its fiduciary duties, and in consultation with its independent legal and financial advisers, the Cedar Fair Board of Directors will carefully review and consider the proposal to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interest of the Company and its unitholders,” the company said in a statement at the time.

About 27.9 million visitors went to Cedar Fair parks in 2019, which made it the eighth most popular theme park chain in the world, according to the TEA/AECOM Theme Index industry report that estimates theme park attendance.

SeaWorld’s parks had about 22.6 million visitors, earning it the ninth ranking in the world, the report said.

Disney was the industry king, with nearly 156 million estimated visitors that year.

After weathering the pandemic, SeaWorld has made it clear it’s looking to grow.

CEO Marc Swanson had said he is looking to get into the hotel business for the first time and told the Orlando Sentinel last year the Orlando or Tampa Bay parks could be a good location for it. He announced he will provide more details in the ongoing months during a November earnings call.

SeaWorld is set to release the next quarterly earnings on Feb. 24, and company leaders could potentially get asked questions about the failed Cedar Fair failed deal by analysts.

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn