Comcast Buying Majority Stake in Universal Studios Japan

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Comcast Buying 51% of Universal Theme Park in Japan.

Universal Studios Japan, which opened in Osaka in 2001, has many of the company’s well-known attractions, as well as rides and shows geared specifically toward the Japanese market. The current owners, which include Goldman Sachs, the chief executive Glenn Gumpel, the private equity firm MBK Partners and the hedge fund Owl Creek Asset Management, will retain minority stakes in the theme park in the $1.5 billion deal.News that the entertainment giant was holding talks about a deal to acquire a majority stake in the Osaka-based company from the current holding company came to light on Sept. 15 when a planned listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was delayed. NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said in a written statement on Monday that the acquisition will help to expand the company’s theme park business around the world. Propelled by the huge popularity of Harry Potter attractions, its Universal Studios parks have become a core growth business for Comcast, which saw its $45-billion bid for Time Warner fail on antitrust concerns this year.

The 20 billion renminbi, or $3.1 billion at the current exchange rate, theme park would be jointly owned with the Beijing Shouhuan Cultural Tourism Investment Company and four state-owned companies. Tokyo’s Disney Resort, which includes Disneyland and DisneySea, also had a record year with 31.4 million visitors though its growth was just 0.3 per cent. Roberts said that while a deal had only been finalized in the last few weeks, it had been on the company’s radar since its 2011 purchase of NBCUniversal. USJ had planned a Tokyo listing this year, but it was shelved due to concerns that three IPOs for Japan Post group companies in November worth a combined $11.5-billion would saturate the market, two sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

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