With Six Flags
Disparity? You bet, but it shouldn't really surprise anyone to see that the divergent paths find both companies essentially flat when it comes to overall top-line growth early in the season.
Yesterday, Cedar Fair announced that year-to-date attendance was up 1% against comparable trends in per capita spending at this point last year. Last week, Six Flags reported that attendance was down 12.5%, but that the average guest was spending 14% more. Even though revenue was down 1% year to date at Six Flags, the picture improves slightly once you account for the Astroworld park that had the land beneath it sold off by Six Flags, and the New Orleans gated attraction that was flooded last year during Hurricane Katrina and is unlikely to reopen anytime soon.
The companies are passing ships when it comes to assets, too. Yesterday, Cedar Fair got antitrust clearance for its pending purchase of Paramount Parks from CBS
A year from now, this may mean that Cedar Fair will be the larger company, but it won't mean that the different paths won't converge once more. If Cedar Fair can achieve the synergies it projects in swallowing down Paramount Parks, and Six Flags becomes a more efficient company with a better-respected brand, both companies may enjoy improving operating profits -- and healthier visibility in the sight of fiscally savvy investors.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz enjoys taking his family on coaster treks over the summer. He owns units in Cedar Fair. T he Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.