Monday, September 28, 2015

Comcast to Become Majority Owner of Universal Studios Japan

Previously rumored, Comcast has confirmed that they have reached a deal to become the majority owner of Universal Studios Japan, purchasing a 51% stake for about $1.5 billion.  As the majority owner, Comcast, though the Universal Parks & Resorts company, will now be able to expand the property with ease - no longer just allowing the Universal name to be used for a fee.  That also means a large part of the park's profit will also be theirs at the end of the year.

The transaction will reorganize the ownership percentages of all the current owners, which include Goldman Sachs, the theme park's CEO Glenn Gumpel, Asian private-equity firm MBK Partners, and U.S. hedge fund Owl Creek Asset Management.

Comcast is planning to continue the expansion of their theme parks around the world, and this purchase fits in with that plan perfectly.  "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. 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."

With a large roller coaster already under construction, it seems there is plenty more to come for Universal Studios Japan.  Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal said in the release that the company "plans to introduce significant attractions at USJ over the next five years."  Seems like a Diagon Alley would fit in perfectly here!

This purchase also means that Universal Studios Singapore is the only branded park not owned in majority by Comcast - that park is owned by the Genting Group.