Theme park operator Six Flags will emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by Monday, after a court approved the company's reorganization plan.
Six Flags filed for bankruptcy protection in June last year, having struggled to service a $2.4 billion debt mountain built up by previous owner Premier Parks. The intervening period has seen battles between investors and creditors seeking to getting the best possible deal out a restructuring, but an agreement has now been reached which will see the company's debts reduced to $1.15 billion.
To help pay down its debt, Six Flags will issue $725 million worth of new stock to be purchased by a group of investors led by Stark Investments. No single company will own Six Flags following the deal, with a new board of directors being formed to oversee the actions of CEO Mark Shapiro and his senior management team - who will remain in place.
The reorganization plan will see some creditors paid back early, with interest, at a cost of $470 million. However, existing shareholders in Six Flags will lose money, having failed to convince the court that there were viable alternatives to the plan.
Six Flags runs 12 theme parks across North America and Mexico, along with a number of associated water parks. It has struggled for years with interest payments on its massive debts, which were built up when the previous owners invested hundreds of millions in expanding the chain.
In a recent call with fans, CEO Shapiro claimed that the chain's 50th anniversary next year will be a "celebration" of its future following the company's exit from bankruptcy. He pledged that company would invest strategically in new attractions and in developing distinct themed areas in every Six Flags park.