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Theme Park Deal Roller Coaster Takes a Swerve Down

Visitors attend the SeaWorld animal theme park in San Diego, California March 19, 2014 REUTERS/Mike Blake/

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NEW YORK, Feb 16 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The ups and downs of the deals could make Cedar Fair (FUN.N) shareholders uneasy. If the theme park operator’s board does its job, their stomachs should settle down soon.

Rival SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS.N) said Tuesday it learned more that the Iowa-based company had rebuffed its takeover bid, knocking down shares of both companies in early trading. The offer, which Reuters said was worth $3.4 billion, was lower than an offer from Six Flags Entertainment in 2019.

Cedar Fair may be hoping Six Flags will come knocking on the door again. After all, amusement parks rebounded quickly last summer as travel to outdoor destinations resumed. But the $4 billion company isn’t much bigger than Cedar Fair, making a big bounty unlikely.

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Additionally, analysts expect Cedar Fair’s revenue growth to stabilize at a meager 4% in 2023, according to Refinitiv. Cedar Fair may be hoping for a screaming auction, but a $5.5 billion SeaWorld deal seems like a decent option. Shareholders would be better served by the end of the deal’s roller coaster ride. (By Lauren Silva Laughlin)

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Editing by Peter Thal Larsen and Pranav Kiran

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