Six Flags and Cedar Fair disclosed in a securities filing Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Justice is seeking more information on the companies’ proposed merger.
The combination of the theme park chains has created a great amount of speculation among fans that the merger could be blocked on antitrust grounds. Extra DOJ scrutiny like this documents request, however, is not unexpected.
“It’s normal procedure,” industry consultant Dennis Speigel, president of the Cincinnati-based International Theme Park Services, told The Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
The step taken by the DOJ, called a “second request,” means the proposed merger does raise “competition issues,” which is why additional information will be turned over. Cedar Fair and Six Flags said in its securities filing that it intends to comply with the request no later than May 2 and that it still expects the merger to be completed in the first half of this year.
If federal agencies were to take action to block the merger, such a move would happen within 30 days after Six Flags and Cedar Fair have turned over the requested info.
The two regional theme park giants announced their intentions to merge last November into a $8 billion company which would include 42 amusement and water parks in North America. It’s the biggest consolidation among U.S. theme parks since 2006, when Cedar Fair paid $1.2 billion to acquire Paramount’s theme park division, which included Kings Island in Mason, Ohio and Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia.