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Six Flags acquires five new US parks

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Six Flags is expanding its US reach, announcing the acquisition of five new parks to bring its North American portfolio up to 25 properties.

The operator has a purchase agreement with Premier Parks, acquiring the lease rights to operate the five attractions, located in Texas, Arizona, New York State and Oklahoma.

In Texas, Six Flags will take up operation of Wet n' Wild Splashtown – the largest waterpark in the Houston area. Covering 190,000sq m (48 acres), the park first opened in 1984 and previously operated as a Six Flags property between 1999 and 2007 before being sold as part of a US$312m (€265.8m, £233.5m), multi-park deal.

The second acquisition – Wet n’ Wild Phoenix – covers 142,000sq m (35 acres) and is the largest waterpark in Arizona. Opened in 2009 by Village Roadshow, the park offers seven waterslides and three children's areas.

First opened in 1981, the Darien Lake theme park resort is the third acquisition in the deal, with the attraction in Buffalo, New York, welcoming 1.5 million visitors each year. Formerly a Six Flags property between 1999 and 2007, Darien Lake includes a theme park, campground, waterpark, on-site accomodation, and a 21,000-seat amphitheatre.

Both in Oklahoma, the final two acquisitions are the western-themed Frontier City, and the nearby White Water Bay waterpark.

Offering an extensive lineup of rides, attractions, and shows across 220,000sq m (55 acres), Frontier City first opened its doors in 1958 and is an iconic part of the Oklahoma City landscape.

Built in 1981, White Water Bay is a former Six Flags property, which the operator ran between 1991 and 2007. The 101,000sq m (25 acre) park has 12 waterslides, a wave pool, activity pool and a kids pool.

Following a record financial year, Six Flags has set out a strategy of acquiring or developing waterparks, with acquisitions of existing properties allowing the operator to expand capacity and attendance with minimal investment, providing a quick payback and high return on invested capital. On completion of the acquisitions, Six Flags will become the largest waterpark operator in North America.

With the five additional properties, Six Flags will increase attendance by roughly two million visitors, with an additional 20 million guests within a 100-mile radius of a Six Flags park, significantly expanding the company’s national footprint.

“This represents another milestone in our strategic North-American growth initiative to seek out park acquisitions that expand our addressable market,” said Six Flags chair, CEO, and president, Jim Reid-Anderson.

“These are all fantastic properties that complement our existing portfolio and provide tremendous added value and cross-visitation opportunities for our extensive membership and season pass base.”

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Six Flags is expanding its US reach, announcing the acquisition of five new parks to bring its North American portfolio up to 25 properties.
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