Editor’s note: This story was published through a partnership between KSAT and the San Antonio Business Journal.
Cedar Fair LP, the Ohio-based owner of several amusement properties including Schlitterbahn water parks in New Braunfels and Galveston, has turned down a multibillion-dollar buyout offer submitted by SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. roughly two weeks ago.
Based on the initial reaction from SeaWorld, Cedar Fair may need to look elsewhere for a buyer if it’s interested in selling.
“The rejection is no surprise,” said veteran industry expert Dennis Speigel, founder of International Theme Park Services Inc. “This is an unwanted attempt to take over Cedar Fair.”
Said SeaWorld in a statement: “We confirm that our offer to acquire Cedar Fair was rejected. Unfortunately, we do not see a path to a transaction.”
For now, it’s business as usual for Schlitterbahn, which is ramping up for its April 15 opening and looking to hire more than 2,000 workers for its New Braunfels park. The Hill Country attraction has been one of the better-performing water parks in the U.S. under Cedar Fair’s ownership, according to Speigel.
“I can’t see any reason why they would want to change that,” he said.
SeaWorld shouldn’t be surprised Cedar Fair balked at its attempted buyout. The company reportedly turned down a more lucrative cash-and-stock offer from Six Flags Entertainment Corp. in 2019.
“I would be shocked if SeaWorld does not come back. It is part of the dance,” Speigel said.
Cedar Fair signed a definitive agreement to acquire Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort New Braunfels and Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston in 2019, agreeing to pay more than $260 million for the two properties.