SeaWorld Entertainment is offering $3.4 billion to acquire the Cedar Fair chain, according to a report from Bloomberg.
The Bloomberg story said SeaWorld’s bid was set at $60 per unit. Cedar Fair’s stock price has fluctuated between $39 and $55 over the past year. The report was based on anonymous sources who said the companies are “working with advisers on the proposal.”
Cedar Fair confirmed that the offer was real, stating in a Tuesday afternoon press release that the company “has received an unsolicited non-binding proposal” from SeaWorld.
“Consistent with its fiduciary duties, and in consultation with its independent legal and financial advisors, 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,” Cedar Fair said in its release.
According to stock market analysis site Seeking Alpha, SeaWorld is the larger of the two companies in terms of employees (6,400 vs. Cedar Fair’s 2,700) and market capitalization ($4.5 billion vs. $2.75 billion).
Prior to the pandemic, Cedar Fair parks had higher attendance, with an estimated 27.9 million guests visiting Cedar Fair parks in 2019, compared to 22.6 million for SeaWorld. SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay each individually attracted more guests than any Cedar Fair park — though those two parks are open year-round, unlike every park in the Cedar Fair chain besides Knott’s Berry Farm.
The two chains do compete with each other in certain regional markets, with Cedar Fair’s Kings Dominion and SeaWorld’s Busch Gardens Williamsburg separated by a roughly 70-mile drive. Dorney Park and Sesame Place are about the same distance, but the latter is geared more towards small children. Knott’s Berry Farm and SeaWorld San Diego are separated by a 97-mile drive.
However, the two do not share many other large markets — SeaWorld, for example, has no presence in Cedar Fair’s home state of Ohio, and Cedar Fair in turn doesn’t operate any park in Florida.
News of the potential sale led to shares of Cedar Fair being halted for trading early Tuesday.
The article was updated after publication to include a press release from Cedar Fair confirming that it received an offer from SeaWorld.