RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The owner of Kings Dominion rejected a $3.5 billion buyout bid from SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.
SeaWorld Entertainment, the company that owns Busch Gardens Williamsburg, made an unsolicited nonbinding offer to acquire Cedar Fair Entertainment, the operator of Kings Dominion in Hanover, and several other theme parks across the country.
“The original proposal was for $60 per unit, which they subsequently and informally increased to $63 per unit,” Richard Zimmerman, Cedar Fair’s CEO, said during an investor call on Wednesday. With the company’s 57 million outstanding shares, the deal would have been worth close to $3.6 billion.
“Our board, together with its external advisors, carefully evaluated the proposal and determined it was not in the best interest of the company and its unit holders,” Zimmerman continued. “As we will discuss this morning, the board and management have a high degree of confidence in our long-range strategic plan.
SeaWorld owns and operates multiple theme parks in the U.S., including SeaWorld parks in Florida, California and Texas. On top of being the parent company of Busch Gardens Williamsburg, it also operates Water Country USA in Williamsburg.
SeaWorld did not immediately respond to 8News’ interview request Thursday, but the company did release a statement on the deal on Wednesday.
“In response to inquiries from various stakeholders, we confirm that our offer to acquire Cedar Fair was rejected,” SeaWorld wrote in the statement. “Unfortunately, we do not see a path to a transaction.”
“We look forward to reinstating a sustainable distribution to our unit holders and we are confident that continued successful execution of our plan will result in meaningful per unit value creation,” Zimmerman told investors on Wednesday.
“That said, the board is openminded and always committed to acting in the best interest of unit holders. They will continue to consider any opportunities to create value for our unit holders. With regard to the SeaWorld proposal, we will have no further comment at this time.”
As Zimmerman noted in the conference with investors, Cedar Fair did not comment on the rejection and declined an interview request on Thursday.