Kings Entertainment Company
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Kings Entertainment Company (KECO) owned and/or operated six theme parks around the world. The company was originally owned by Taft Broadcasting and in 1984 was purchased for $167.5 million by senior executives and general managers of Taft's Amusement Park Group.
In 1992, the company was sold to Paramount Communications (formerly Gulf+Western, and later acquired by Viacom), then the parent of Paramount Pictures, which changed the name of the parks by adding "Paramount's" in front of their names. The park in Australia was not purchased by Paramount and was sold to a local company.
The company was renamed Paramount Parks in 1994, around the time of the Viacom purchase, and remained in existence until 2006. As part of the 2005 Viacom split, ownership of Paramount Parks was transferred to the CBS Corporation.
CBS, in turn, sold the parks to the Sandusky, Ohio-based amusement park management company Cedar Fair Entertainment Company on June 30, 2006 (CBS decided that the parks would not fit a new corporate strategy that they were implementing). As of January 2007, Cedar Fair has begun dropping the Paramount name from the individual parks and restoring their original KECO names with new Cedar Fair logos. This transaction also returned the parks to Ohio-based ownership, as Taft was once headquartered in Cincinnati (meanwhile, Gulf+Western was once headquartered in one of Ohio's neighboring states, Michigan).
The company owned:
- Canada's Wonderland, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (sold to Paramount, now owned by Cedar Fair)
- Great America, Santa Clara, California (Sold to Paramount, now owned by Cedar Fair)
- Kings Island, Mason, Ohio (Sold to Paramount, now owned by Cedar Fair)
- Carowinds, Charlotte, North Carolina (Sold to Paramount, now owned by Cedar Fair)
- Kings Dominion, Doswell, Virginia (Sold to Paramount, now owned by Cedar Fair)
- Australia's Wonderland, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia (Sold to Sunway Group, now defunct)
- Hanna Barbera Land, Houston, Texas (sold to Six Flags and reopened as Splashtown)
- Marineland of the Pacific, Palos Verdes, California (sold to Harcourt Brace Jovanovich then owner of SeaWorld and promptly closed)