Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Have you ever considered selling out to a corporate chain?


Rob Norris, Seabreeze, USA: No, we have never seriously considered selling Seabreeze. Our family has been in the business for over 130 years; we started building carousels in 1876. We really hope the legacy continues but that’s up to the next generation. We have a philosophy that we are the current caretakers of a great traditional amusement park. As long as we can continue to run a safe and profitable business, we have no desire to sell. But we’ve had great weather this year – if you ask me after two weeks of rain, you might get another answer!

Duncan Phillips, Gulliver’s Theme Parks, England: No, we still love it – me, my sister Julie and my brother Nick. As long as we all love what we are doing and are prepared to invest I see no reason to sell. I think Gulliver’s probably would make a good target though for a corporate buyer because of what we do here and the strong family brand that we have.

Will Koch, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, USA: Yes, we have considered it. As business owners, it would be foolish not to consider all options available to maximise the value of our very significant investment. However, our park is not only a business; it is also very much a part of our family. Selling would be a business decision; that is tru, but it would also be an emotional decision. As long as I’m alive and able, I want this park to remain under the ownership and control of the Koch family. It is a wonderful fringe benefit that we’ve been able to grow our business in a way that, from a business perspective, justifies the decision not to sell.

Roland Mack, Europa-Park, Germany: It’s a very interesting topic, especially when taking into consideration the current activity. My family has grown up with this industry and is fascinated by it. We live the leisure business with a great deal of enthusiasm and the development of our company is a real pleasure for us. Europa-Park is currently managed by the seventh generation and my sons Michael and Thomas, the eight generation, will set the course for the future. Needless to say, the development of a dynamic leisure park such as Europa-Park is a considerable task, which requires immense financial means. We invest in new attractions every year, including rides and hotels, and have been investing continuously since 1975. It remains to be seen if it will also be possible to finance future developments as a family company. However, I think we benefit as an owner-managed company with fast and unbureaucratic decision-making and we intend to hold on to Europa-Park as well as continuing our close co-operation with Mack Rides.

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