Boyden Hingston-Muir

Ardent Leisure eyes Dreamworld sale

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Ardent Leisure eyes Dreamworld sale - The Australian

 

Ardent Leisure is believed to be considering a sale of its Australian theme park Dreamworld, with the asset said to be in the crosshairs of a Chinese suitor.

It comes after the company was believed to have set its sights on rival Village Roadshow as a takeover target.

This was before a fatal tragedy at Dreamworld last year that caused its share price to fall and visitor numbers to the Gold Coast theme park to plummet.

Songcheng, which owns land on the Gold Coast, may be the party eyeing Dreamworld, given that it currently has plans a rival nearby theme park.

Discussions have also previously been held with China’s Wanda, which owns entertainment assets globally about buying Dreamworld, but the talks later went cold.

Plans are currently thought to be afoot to break up the company that also owns entertainment and bowling centres in the United States.

Ardent Leisure — soon to be renamed Main Event — was earlier thought to be in play after property investor Ariadne, backed by corporate radar Gary Weiss, bought at least 5 per cent of the business.

It comes this week as chief executive Deborah Thomas was replaced by former Nine chief financial officer Simon Kelly.

Mr Kelly declined to comment.

Shares in Ardent closed down 1c to $2.03.

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19 minutes ago, joz said:

Source?

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/dataroom/ardent-leisure-eyes-dreamworld-sale/news-story/ba288feac397b10aeffcd75506d588fe

 

Sometimes it opens behind a paywall, sometimes it doesn't. But it's the same article. 

Edited by Reanimated35

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The article doesn't have much in the way of sources, but I wouldn't be surprised if Ardent are considering a sale. Their Main Event business is doing reasonably well and for any spare capital the potential return on investment would be far greater from opening new Main Event locations compared to expanding Dreamworld. 

 

Seems there would be two possible outcomes from a Dreamworld sale:

- Songcheng/Wanda/Fantawild/Merlin etc step in and buy the park with the intent of investing enough  capital to start drawing crowds again

- Property developer or investment bank buys it for the land, and Dreamworld goes the way of Wonderland. 

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Merlin would be the best outcome, but the only place that option has come up is here when we write what we wish would happen.

 

The talk for a long time has been Ardent have been looking to sell Dreamworld, so the current reports aren't that surprising.  Having looked at other Songcheng parks if you had any control of the situation you'd like to keep them the hell away from the park.  However, I'd obviously rather see it run as a theme park rather than turning into housing.

 

Seems to me that with the value of Dreamworld being at it lowest point ever, now is an odd time to sell.

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I've said it before but I don't think they're helping protect the value of the park by giving away passes so cheap.

I agree about Songcheng. I'm not sure they know how to run theme parks at all. 

What about Wanda though? Has anyone heard if they still want to open a theme park in the Gold Coast?

Edited by pushbutton

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So to me passes for multiple dates or season passes should be at least double a 1 day ticket. What is the point of buying a 1 day ticket if it cost $10 more for a season pass. AW sells seasons passes for approx $152 which is just under 3 visits to the park. I wouldn't think DW would make much money of a $35 35 day pass.

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That only works as the locals aren't accustomed to cheap passes. The problem with the Queensland parks is people now are used to cheap passes and they are kind of expected. There would be too much of a protest if they tried going back to the $200-300 single park passes and higher price point for multi park option.

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14 minutes ago, pushbutton said:

I've said it before but I don't think they're helping protect the value of the park by giving away passes so cheap.

Market forces require it. When you competitor offers something akin to your offering at a certain price point, you either have to be FAR BETTER than they are (which they aren't) or you have to match the price to attract patronage.

Even worse - in the current situation dreamworld is in, it looks better to have a full park at rock bottom prices, than to have an empty park. If the price is too high, and it keeps people away, it reinforces the view to others that the park isn't safe (see previous GCB fluff on empty park) and that people are avoiding it. 

If Ardent \ Main Event do hold onto this long term, they can bring the prices up gradually once the memory of the incident has faded.

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Given the article states Ardent looked at purchasing VRTP. These days how likely do you think it would be VRTP would purchase DW? 

I know their last report said they wanted to curb spending, but with the recent valuation of DW, surely it would start to look attractive to some companies and with VRTP they would essentially control the market and not have to worry about a competitior. 

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2 minutes ago, Original said:

Given the article states Ardent looked at purchasing VRTP. These days how likely do you think it would be VRTP would purchase DW? 

I know their last report said they wanted to curb spending, but with the recent valuation of DW, surely it would start to look attractive to some companies and with VRTP they would essentially control the market and not have to worry about a competitior. 

I take your point, but would only be in favour of this if it was a last resort, and the choice was either Village take over Dreamworld or it closes.

Otherwise, in my opinion a monopoly is usually not a good thing.

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Would the ACCC allow such a transaction to go through? The only way I can see them allowing such things is if there are guarantees it stays open as a theme park and the only other option is for Dreamworld to cease operating.

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2 hours ago, Brad2912 said:

Can't see any reason why the ACCC would have much of an issue. They had no issue with JB Hifi acquiring The Good Guys and owning 80%+ of the electronics market 

The JB Hifi deal is completely different. No issue was taken as the two businesses are not the same and are not direct competitors. Sure they share somethings but they are primarily different. With jb being more focused on entertainment while the good guys are more household appliances. 

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The ACCC is weak IMO, look at the market Coles & Woolworths have and the market their offshoots have, especially Bunnings. 

The issue more with the sale would be VRTP not wanting to spend the money after their last release said they were curbing their spending. 

But if I was an exec and the right opportunity presented itself I think I'd be mad not to. 

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