UPDATE 2-Comcast buys majority stake in Universal Studios Japan for $1.5 bln

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Comcast Buying 51% Stake in Universal Studios Japan.

Comcast is making the deal, announced Monday in Japan, through its NBCUniversal unit. Comcast Corp. will acquire a 51 percent stake in Japanese theme park owner USJ Co. as the largest U.S. cable company seeks to expand its business overseas.Universal Studios Japan, which has experienced continued growth in attendance and revenue since it opened in 2001, currently operates as an independent company under license from NBCUniversal. “We are excited to expand our global footprint with this wonderful theme park in Osaka and are excited by the opportunities that lie ahead in Japan and all of Asia,” said Brian L. Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit will pay $1.5 billion for the stake in the owner of Universal Studios Japan in Osaka city, Comcast said in a statement Monday, adding USJ’s Chief Executive Officer Glenn Gumpel will step down while Goldman Sachs Group Inc., MBK Partners Ltd. and Gumpel will retain minority stakes.

Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast. “This investment represents a huge opportunity and commitment to creating value for our shareholders and continuing to grow internationally.” Philadelphia-based Comcast, which in April dropped its bid to buy Time Warner Cable Inc. amid opposition from antitrust regulators, has been seeking growth elsewhere from digital media in the U.S. to expansion overseas. USJ, listed in 2007 but taken private by Goldman two years later as the park’s appeal faded and the number of visitors slumped, had earlier said it could seek a re-listing this year. Comcast Corp. in 2013 gained the Universal film and theme park businesses after it agreed to pay General Electric Co. $16.7 billion for full ownership of NBCUniversal, which also gave Comcast control of the NBC broadcast network, as well as cable channels MSNBC and Bravo. NBCUniversal in August agreed to make a $200 million investment in the news website BuzzFeed and a similar amount in Vox Media, the online publisher of The Verge, Eater and Re/code, in an effort to capture the growth in digital advertising and reach younger consumers.

USJ had sales of 138.5 billion yen in the fiscal year ended March 2015, up 44 percent from a year earlier, while operating profit rose 61 percent to 39 billion yen, both all-time highs, spokesman Johta Takahashi said earlier Monday.

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