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Six Flags spikes on shakeup plan
Washington Redskins boss Dan Snyder seeks to replace theme park firm's leaders; plans tender offer.
August 19, 2005: 10:44 AM EDT
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder wants to buy a bigger stake in amusement park owner Six Flags.
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder wants to buy a bigger stake in amusement park owner Six Flags.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Six Flags Inc. investor Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins football team, is seeking to sack the board of the of the theme park operator and is offering a premium for a larger stake in the company.

Snyder, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission early Thursday, said his investment firm, Red Zone, is offering $6.50 a share for up to 34.9 percent of the company. That's a premium of $1.01, or 18 percent, over Wednesday's closing price of $5.49 a share.

Red Zone already owns an 11.7 percent stake in Six Flags, making it the largest shareholder, according to data from FactSet Research.

Shares of Six Flags (up $0.05 to $6.54, Research), which gained 18 percent to close at $6.49, just below Snyder's offer price, in Thursday trading, jumped to $6.70 a share early Friday before retreating to just above his offer price.

Snyder's filing also said he is seeking to drop Six Flags CEO Kieran Burke, Chief Financial Officer James Dannhauser and investment banker Stanley Shuman from the board of Six Flags.

He would replace them with himself, Mark Shapiro, who announced Wednesday he was leaving his post as executive vice president of programming and production at sports broadcaster ESPN to become CEO of Red Zone, and Dwight Schar, chairman of home builder NVR (Research).

The filing follows a previous statement from Snyder that said he continues to believe the company's management is underperforming and steps need to be taken to increase shareholder value. The earlier filing said he has increased his stake in the company from 8.8 percent last September.

In the filing, Snyder said he is talking to other shareholders and actively exploring means to influence the Six Flags board and management.

New York-based Six Flags issued a statement which said, "Six Flags shareholders need take no action at this time. The board of directors of Six Flags will carefully consider and evaluate Red Zone's filings and will communicate with Six Flags' stockholders in due course. "

Shares of Six Flags have not recovered since a 57 percent drop in value on Aug. 13, 2002, when it reported disappointing earnings and warned that it would not achieve performance goals for that year. Shares are still less half the value of the close of $11.86 on Aug. 12, 2002, before that announcement.


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