Six Flags files for Chapter 11 protection

New York-based Six Flags Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the District of Delaware on Friday.

The company’s reorganization plan, which has support from its lenders’ steering committee and the administrative agent for its $1.1 billion senior secured credit facility, would deleverage Six Flags’ balance sheet by about $1.8 billion and the elimination of about $300 million in preferred stock options.

“The current management team inherited a $2.4 billion debt load that cannot be sustained, particularly in these challenging financial markets,” said Mark Shapiro, president and CEO. “As a result, we are cleaning up the past and positioning the company for future growth.

“We will emerge from this stronger and more competitive than ever.”

The Chapter 11 proceedings are expected to have no effect on day-to-day operations at any of Six Flags’ 20 amusement parks around the country, including its Great America park in Gurnee, Ill.

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