This was originally posted on August 18th on cbjPages.com.
I’m away from my computer but I will be updating this post tonight with details. It seems that Blackstone
has made is on the verge of making a legit offer for the entire family of Busch Entertainment Corporation parks. Details to come.
Alright, here are the details. Screamscape.com reported that some of their sources have reported an increase in talk within Busch Entertainment regarding the acquisition of the parks. The interested party mentioned is Blackstone, who owns Merlin and has a 50% stake in Universal Orlando.
Some months ago there were sightings of top ranking officials from Merlin in the parks and apparently now Blackstone officials are again touring each of the parks before finalizing an offer. As Screamscape points out in their report, Blackstone is in talks with Busch as “Blackstone”, signaling the possibility that they may be interested in spinning Busch Entertainment Corporation into it’s own company. There have been mentions of Blackstone as an interested party since the realization that InBev would be selling off the parks.
One of our visitors here at the website, Ariel, made a good point about this and I honestly don’t know how it will effect a sale of BEC to Blackstone. Blackstone has a contract with NBC/Universal that prohibits them from becoming an investor in any other Florida theme parks. I do seem to remember some interest coming from NBC/Universal in the acquisition of the parks and it’s a move that would make sense if the companies entered into a partnership. The combined synergies created by a merger between these two would allow for head to head competition with Disney.
Regarding the possibility of a merger, there were apparently surveys conducted at Universal Orlando asking if the guests would prefer to visit SeaWorld or Discovery Cove over Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Screamscape’s sources are normally pretty accurate and seem to think a deal could be completed by the end of the year.
I personally think this would be the good for the parks as Blackstone will likely leave most of BEC’s management structure in place and not ruin a good thing. Feel free to leave a comment and let people know what you think about it.