Remember that investment group that wanted Six Flags to sell the land underneath its amusement parks to help boost Six Flags' stock price? It appears that Six Flags management now is working with those investors, as the company has announced a new independent member for its board of directors.
Six Flags announced today that former Las Vegas casino executive Marilyn Spiegel has joined its Board of Directors, effective immediately. Spiegel worked as regional president for Harrah's - now Caesars Entertainment Corp. - in charge of the Paris Las Vegas, Bally’s, Planet Hollywood, and Rio hotels before becoming president of Wynn Las Vegas and Encore. She will stand for election along with six other board members at Six Flags' next annual meeting.
"We are delighted to welcome Marilyn to Six Flags," Six Flags Non-Executive Chairman of the Board Ben Baldanza said. "Her experience spanning over three decades in the hotel and entertainment industries will provide the Company with valuable insight and guidance as we seek to elevate the guest experience and deliver long-term, profitable growth."
In its press release announcing the appointment, Six Flags prominently featured a quote from the head of the investment group that has been pushing for the land sale. [See our previous post, Should Six Flags Sell Land to Boost Its Stock Price? for the background on that.]
"The addition of Marilyn to Six Flags' Board, with her extensive track record in the hospitality industry and her experience overseeing operations with significant real estate portfolios, is a positive development for Six Flags' shareholders," Land & Buildings Founder and Chief Investment Officer, Jonathan Litt, said. "As we've previously stated, we believe the company has a tremendous value creation opportunity in front of it – including by exploring ways to potentially monetize its uniquely valuable real estate portfolio. We look forward to continuing to engage with the Board and leadership team."
Under current CEO and President Selim Bassoul, Six Flags has posted dismal financial performance as the company has pivoted away from discounts in an attempt to increase guest spending. [Attendance, Revenue Plummet at Six Flags] But higher prices without new and better attractions have kept fans away from Six Flags, even as its competitors at Cedar Fair and SeaWorld (and Disney and Universal) have enjoyed rising attendance and record financial results after the pandemic lockdowns lifted.
A land sale would bring an immediate windfall of cash to Six Flags, boosting its stock price. But then the parks would be forced to pay rent to continue operating - and as anyone getting crunched by rent payments right now knows, that's hardly a comfortable place to be.
Maybe if Six Flags spent all of that real estate windfall on Disney-caliber new attractions to boost attendance from high-spending families, it could come out ahead. But without a massive spike in new income from park guests, it's hard to see how many Six Flags parks would be able to survive the added expense of annual rent payments, given their current financial state.
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