- The Washington Times - Friday, August 21, 2009

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) Creditors of amusement park company Six Flags Inc. may own a majority stake in the company when it emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according court documents filed Friday.

A debt-to-equity swap would allow select lenders mostly banks that loaned the company money, led by JPMorgan Chase Bank to wind up with 92 percent of the company’s common stock. They’ll also issue Six Flags, which sought federal bankruptcy protection in June, a new $600 million loan.

Meanwhile, top executives at the New York-based company including CEO Mark Shapiro, could receive emergence bonuses totaling more than $5 million.

Washington Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder is chairman of Six Flags.

Executives also stand to get 10 percent of the new stock in stock options and restricted stock, a perk that’s potentially worth tens of millions of dollars.

Mr. Shapiro, who is on tap to get a $3 million emergence bonus, is set to get a base salary of $1.3 million and up to $2.6 million in bonuses each year, according to the filings.

The documents were filed Friday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

Six Flags sought Chapter 11 protection in mid-June hoping to reorganize under a prepackaged plan and shed $1.8 billion in debt.

The company, which had $2.42 billion in debt at the end of June, operates 20 amusement parks around the country. But despite record revenue in 2008 and visits from 25 million people, a souring economy, rising unemployment, concerns about swine flu and other forces made staying afloat and compliant with various debt obligations nearly impossible.

The company has said it has no plans to sell any parks.

As part of Friday’s tentative deal, other unsecured creditors will receive payments of their loans along a sliding scale. Some will split the remaining shares of the company, while others won’t get any money returned to them through the restructuring process.

The plan still must be approved by the court.

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