Correction to This Article
An Aug. 21 Washington Business article misstated the amount of debt held by the amusement park company Six Flags Inc. The amount is $2 billion, not $2 million.
Six Flags Puts 6 Parks on the Block

Monday, August 21, 2006

The letters have been sent, the parties are informed. It's official: Six Flags Inc. is courting buyers for six amusement parks it's thinking about selling.

Six Flags America in Largo is not on the table. The parks up for grabs include Magic Mountain near Los Angeles, Wild Waves & Enchanted Village near Seattle, Elitch Gardens in Denver, SplashTown near Houston, Darien Lake near Buffalo and Waterworld in Concord, Calif.

Aside from those details, there is not much else: Six Flags would not comment on the who, the where or the how many in terms of potential buyers. The hope is to sell all six parks as part of a package, but Six Flags spokeswoman Wendy Goldberg cautioned that the company has not officially decided if it will sell.

The company is coming off a bruising summer, in which attendance for the 30 parks was down 14 percent -- about 1.5 million visitors -- from a year earlier. Six Flags reported a second-quarter loss of $39.6 million, or 48 cents a share, earlier this month, compared with profit of $11.1 million in the same period of 2005. And the company is still burdened by more than $2 million in debt.

Hopes were high for Six Flags after Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder gained control last fall, installing former ESPN programming whiz Mark Shapiro as chief executive. But a new family-oriented approach has translated into higher operating costs. Moody's Investors Service Inc. changed its outlook on the company from "stable" to "negative."

-- Chris Kirkham

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