Six Flags, Inc. History

11501 Northeast Expressway
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73131-6416

Telephone: (405) 475-2500
Fax: (405) 475-2555

Public Company
Incorporated: 1971 as Tierco Group, Inc.
Employees: 47,000
Sales: $1.05 billion (2001)
Stock Exchanges: New York
Ticker Symbol: PKS
NAIC: 713110 Amusement and Theme Parks

Company Perspectives:

Today, Six Flags is the gold standard of regional theme park entertainment. The parks are bigger and bolder than ever, offering cutting-edge, one-of-kind rides and so much more. A licensing agreement with DC Comics and Warner Bros. Consumer Products allows Six Flags the exclusive theme park rights to many of the world's greatest super heroes and cartoon characters. DC Comics Super Heroes, Batman, Superman and Looney Tunes Bugs Bunny and all their friends reside at Six Flags--creating a unique experience.

Key Dates:

The Frontier City theme park opens in Oklahoma City.
Angus Wynne and partners open Six Flags Over Texas.
Six Flags Over Texas unveils the world's first log flume ride.
Operation of the first-ever steel roller coaster begins at Six Flags Over Texas; Wynne sells his amusement park to Penn Central Corp.
Six Flags expands by opening a new park in Atlanta, Six Flags Over Georgia.
Tierco Group, Inc., an Oklahoma-based real estate company, is incorporated; Six Flags opens a new park in Eureka, Missouri, called Six Flags Over Mid-America (later renamed Six Flags St. Louis).
Six Flags Great Adventure opens in Jackson, New Jersey.
Six Flags acquires Magic Mountain in Valencia, California.
Tierco acquires Frontier City; Penn Central sells the Six Flags chain to Bally Manufacturing Corporation.
Gary Story is hired as general manager of Frontier City and soon quadruples the park's attendance and revenues; Six Flags Great America opens near Chicago; Six Flags Corporation acquires theme park rights to Warner Bros. animated characters.
Wesray Capital Corporation buys Six Flags Corporation in a leveraged buyout.
Kieran E. Burke is hired as president and CEO of Tierco and leads shift from real estate to amusement parks.
Time Warner Inc. acquires 19.5 percent stake in Six Flags Corporation.
Six Flags changes owners again--Time Warner increases its stake to 50 percent and two New York investment firms, the Blackstone Group and Wertheim Schroder & Company, acquire the other 50 percent.
Tierco acquires Wild World amusement park, located in Largo, Maryland (later renamed Adventure World).
Time Warner acquires full control of Six Flags Theme Parks, Inc.
Tierco changes its name to Premier Parks, Inc.; Story is promoted to president and COO of Premier, while Burke becomes chairman and CEO.
Premier acquires three parks from Funtime Parks, Inc.
Premier acquires Elitch Gardens in Denver and goes public.
Premier acquires Riverside Park (near Boston) and Kentucky Kingdom and begins managing Marine World, near San Francisco.
Walibi Family Parks, which owns six parks in Europe, is purchased by Premier; Premier Parks acquires Six Flags Theme Parks and its 12 parks in a $1.86 billion deal; Premier begins transforming some of its parks into Six Flags sites, the first being Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.
Adventure World is rebranded Six Flags America; Premier acquires its first Mexican theme park, Reino Adventura, which is renamed Six Flags Mexico, as well as Warner Bros. Movie World in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Geauga Lake park is renamed Six Flags Ohio, Riverside Park is transformed into Six Flags New England, and Walibi Flevo becomes Six Flags Holland; Premier Parks changes its name to Six Flags, Inc.
Sea World of Ohio is acquired and is combined with Six Flags Ohio to form Six Flags Worlds of Adventure; Six Flags expands into Canada through the purchase of La Ronde, located in Montreal; Walibi Wavre is renamed Six Flags Belgium.

Company History:

Further Reading:

  • Bailey, Jeff, and Laura Landro, "Bally Will Sell Six Flags Unit for $600 Million," Wall Street Journal, April 22, 1987.
  • Bunyan, Clytie, "Theme Park Crossing New Frontiers," Sunday Oklahoman, April 26, 1998.
  • Garrity, Brian, "Despite Recent Transactions, Six Flags Having a Rough Time on Wall Street," Amusement Business, August 14, 2000, p. 13.
  • Goldman, Kevin, "Time Warner Buys 19.5% of Six Flags for $19.5 Million," Wall Street Journal, April 23, 1990, p. B6.
  • Gubernick, Lisa, "'We're Bigger, Faster, Closer,'" Forbes, May 25, 1992, pp. 232-33.
  • McDowell, Edwin, "The New Monster of the Midway," New York Times, June 21, 1998.
  • O'Brien, Tim, "Cochran's 30-Year Tenure with Six Flags Is Truly a Success Story," Amusement Business, March 25-31, 1991, pp. 45-46.
  • ------, "The Granddaddy of Six Flags Parks Celebrates a Big 30th Anniversary," Amusement Business, March 25-31, 1991, pp. 49-50.
  • ------, "Indoor Coaster Set for Two Six Flags Parks," Amusement Business, March 11, 1996, pp. 32-33.
  • ------, "Industry Stunned, Excited About Premier Move," Amusement Business, February 16, 1998, p. 2.
  • ------, "Pittman: Six Flags to Continue Backing Big Promises with Major Investments," Amusement Business, April 17, 1995, pp. 21-22.
  • ------, "Premier Converts More to Six Flags," Amusement Business, November 2, 1998, pp. 1, 44.
  • ------, "Premier Planning Growth Through Park Acquisitions," Amusement Business, December 12, 1994, pp. 1+.
  • ------, "Premier Purchases WB's European Parks Division," Amusement Business, October 18, 1999, pp. 1, 32.
  • ------, "Rapid Growth of Premier Spurred by Successful Public Stock Offerings," Amusement Business, February 24, 1997, pp. 22+.
  • ------, "Restructuring, Renaming, Renovations: Tierco Group Prepares Parks for '92," Amusement Business, March 23, 1992, pp. 17+.
  • ------, "Six Flags Acquisition a 'Premier' Purchase," Amusement Business, February 16, 1998, pp. 1+.
  • ------, "Six Flags Debuts Queue Management," Amusement Business, March 5, 2001, pp. 1, 26.
  • ------, "Six Months Later, Six Flags Parks a Sign of Merging Corporate Cultures," Amusement Business, November 2, 1998, pp. 44, 62.
  • ------, "Time Warner Changes Face of Six Flags Chain," Amusement Business, May 4, 1992, pp. 1+.
  • ------, "Time Warner Characters to Remain at Six Flags," Amusement Business, April 24, 1995, pp. 1-2.
  • Patterson, Kelly D., "Management Turmoil Eases at Six Flags," Dallas Morning News, November 25, 1997, p. 1A.
  • ------, "Partnership Keeps Control of Six Flags," Dallas Morning News, January 24, 1998, p. 1A.
  • ------, "Premier Purchases Six Flags," Dallas Morning News, February 10, 1998, p. 1A.
  • Potts, Gregory, "Premier Parks Expands Six Flags Brand Name," Oklahoma City Journal Record, October 29, 1998.
  • Salter, Sallye, "Six Flags Amusement Parks Sold: Wesray Capital Pays $350 Million," Atlanta Constitution, April 22, 1987, p. B1.
  • Shay, Kevin J., "Success Story: Premier Parks Flourishes Under President's Leadership," Dallas Morning News, November 15, 1998, p. 1A.
  • "Six Flags Unveils Rides, Water Park," Travel Weekly, July 17, 1995, pp. 38-39.
  • Stanley, T.L., "How Long Can the Ride Continue?," Brandweek, September 11, 1995, pp. 34-37.
  • Uttal, Bro, "The Ride Is Getting Scarier for 'Theme Park' Owners," Fortune, December 1977, p. 167.
  • Welsh, Jonathan, "Premier Parks Intends to Grow Big by Thinking Small," Wall Street Journal, May 12, 1999, p. B4.
  • West, Sandy, "Premier Parks Taking Ground from Walt Disney," Boulder News, January 2, 1999.
  • Wood, Sean, "Hurricane Harbor Moves to Broaden Family Appeal," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, December 2, 1998.
  • ------, "Ready to Ride Premier Parks Overhauls Six Flags Parks, Management," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, November 17, 1998.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 54. St. James Press, 2003.