Showing confidence in future growth of its Asia theme park business, Comcast NBCUniversal has agreed to purchase the 49% of Universal Studios Japan which it does not already own. The stake is being acquired from Goldman Sachs, former USJ CEO Glenn Gumpel, private equity firm MBK Partners and hedge fund Owl Creek Asset Management. The sale price is $2.3B, valuing USJ at $7.4B, including the assumption of USJ net debt.
The acquisition will more closely align USJ with Comcast NBCUniversal’s ongoing investment strategy for its theme parks which includes opening major attractions based on its blockbuster film franchises and other world-class IP which boost attendance and revenue.
Universal Studios Japan opened in 2001 as a Japanese company with a license from NBCU. It has seen strong growth and features classic Universal attractions as well as those specifically designed for the Asian market.
USJ opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2014, and last year added the Jurassic Park-themed Flying Dinosaur roller coaster. Later in 2017, it will open Minion Park, the world’s largest Minions-themed area, building on the success of the Illumination franchise with a 3D ride, shops and more.
Further, Super Nintendo World is set to debut at USJ in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The area will feature globally popular Nintendo characters and their game worlds brought to life.
Also in Asia, Comcast NBCU is building a theme park destination in Beijing and licenses a park in Singapore.
The USJ transaction is expected to close before the end of April 2017.
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