Friday, November 7, 2008

Busch Entertainment Update

Busch stockholders will vote on November 12th to approve the sale of the company to InBev, and this is apparently turning up the heat on the new owner to find a buyer for the Busch Entertainment parks.

After the announcement of the sale things have been somewhat quite on the theme park issue, at least in the mainstream media.

InBev will need to immediately start to reduce their debt levels after purchasing Busch, which means selling the theme parks will be a high priority. The parks are still expected to fetch anywhere from $2.5 to $4 billion.

This article is a nice update
on the situation, and still mentions that the investment oriented Blackstone Group (which in turn already owns Merlin Entertainment, and part of Universal Orlando) would be a nice suitor, and also brings up the Dubai investors currently involved in bringing Busch parks to their resort development as buyers as well.

The Blackstone Group might be a nice choice for a buyer, as they seems fairly 'hands off' with their purchases so long as they make them money. They own a ton of stuff, from The Weather Channel, to Harrah's casinos, and are part owner of Universal Orlando.

The Busch Entertainment parks hold themselves to a rather high level of quality, and I think that Blackstone would be one of few new owners that would allow them to keep that level.

Whatever ends up happening, it seems as though it's going to happen quickly. With the current credit market the banks will be hounding InBev to ditch the parks to pay down debt as soon as possible.