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Redskin Owner, Gates Lift Shares of Six Flags

September 01, 2004|From Associated Press

Pressure from shareholder Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., over a sagging financial outlook and news that Washington Redskin owner Daniel Snyder has bought nearly 9% of Six Flags Inc. drove the amusement park company's shares up nearly 25% on Tuesday.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by his Cascade Investment firm, Gates, who owns 11.5% of Six Flags stock, said he was "increasingly dissatisfied" with the company's financial performance. The filing says Gates plans to press company officials for answers on Six Flags' decision-making process and finances. Six Flags' stock price has plunged in recent months. It also states that Gates may seek to have another director placed on Six Flags' board.

In a separate SEC filing Monday, Snyder reported that between Aug. 11 and Aug. 30, he bought 8.15 million shares of Six Flags for $34.5 million through his investment vehicle Red Zone.

In the filing, Snyder says he believes that Six Flags shares are undervalued and that executives haven't done enough to outpace competitors.

"The company's management has failed to implement measures to increase revenues and decrease expenses," the filing reads. Snyder said he might seek a board seat and could push Six Flags to merge or sell some assets.

Snyder, of Bethesda, Md., and representatives of Six Flags could not be reached for comment.

Shares of Oklahoma City-based Six Flags rose $1.11 to $5.57 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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