Screamscape.com is reporting that Blackstone officials have been meeting with BEC and InBev officials over the past week in Orlando. This could prove to be the final negotiations for the purchase of the parks. More details to come.
Merlin Entertainment is now finalizing their IPO which is expected to bring in $3.3 billion. I’m not sure how much cash on hand Merlin or it’s parent company, Blackstone, have, but $3.3 billion is pretty close to the reported $4 billion that InBev would be seeking for the parks. We’ll see where this is going. I’m expecting a sale of BEC to Blackstone/Merlin by the end of the year.
Screamscape has stated that sources in the know spotted Jim Atchison taking a tour of Busch Gardens Tampa with a group of officials from Blackstone.
There are rumors that the park departments have been told to begin removing any Anheuser-Busch branded items and that a park-wide meeting that was canceled at SeaWorld is now scheduled to happen on the 23rd. If you’re a regular visitor to BGW, you know about the red benches along the path from Heatherdowns to Ireland that have big “AB” logos on them. Obviously the park will be closed on the 23rd, it’s a Wednesday, so we may not see any removal of items until after the purchase has been announced (if it is in fact coming on the 23rd), but it’s something I’ll be keeping an eye on in future visits.