NBC Universal announced today that they have acquired the remaining 49% stake in Universal Studios Japan.
In a deal worth ¥254.8 billion (US$2.3 billion), NBC Universal has agreed to purchase 49 percent ownership of Universal Studios Japan from Universal Studios Japan’s partners including Goldman Sachs, former USJ Chief Executive Officer Glenn Gumpel, Asian private-equity firm MBK Partners and U.S. hedge fund Owl Creek Asset Management. The purchase will value USJ at ¥840 billion (US$7.4 billion), including the assumption of USJ net debt.
This news doesn’t come as a surprise to those who follow the parks closely as Universal is currently rebranding their parks to fall under the new Universal Parks and Resorts Moniker. This move also shows that NBC Universal and their parent Comcast Corp. has confidence that growth of the park is a safe bet in the Asian market.
Universal Studios Japan has undergone several expansions lately starting with the debut of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2014. Later this year the vacation destination with the opening of Minion Park–an area that will become the “World’s Largest Minion-Themed Area.”
In 2020, just in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics the Super Nintendo World is set to open. The new area is planned to be an expansive area that will immerse guests in a world featuring globally popular characters and their respective game worlds from Nintendo.
NBC Universal stated in their press release that “this acquisition will more closely align USJ with Comcast NBCUniversal’s ongoing investment strategy for its theme parks.” Tom Williams, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Parks & Resorts said “Universal Studios Japan is an amazing and incredibly successful theme park, this acquisition will bring an even stronger future for the theme park, its guests, and its team members. We are thrilled USJ will fully be part of the Universal family and look forward to continuing to create a remarkable experience for our guests.”
The transaction is expected to close before the end of April 2017.
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