Sign in or Join the Community!

Robert Niles

More heat behind the Merlin/Busch takeover rumors

Published: August 4, 2008 at 2:18 PM

Lots of publications are jumping over the Telegraph's report that Merlin Entertainments Group stakeholder The Blackstone Group is considering a play for Busch Entertainment Corp., the theme park arm of the Anheuser-Busch, said to be for sale after the takeover of the brewer by Belgian conglomerate InBev.

This should be nothing new to TPI readers. Remember, we fingered Merlin as the most likely suitor back in June. The Telegraph story suggests that Blackstone might make a play independent of Merlin, then possibly merge BEC with Merlin... or even Universal Orlando, of which Blackstone owns half.

I can't see the UO deal happening, mostly because of the NBC Universal/GE involvement. But, if InBev doesn't sell the parks to the Busch family, then Merlin/Blackstone remains a definite candidate to obtain Busch Gardens and SeaWorld.

Replies (3)

Alicia W

Published: August 4, 2008 at 3:48 PM

Blackstone's agreement with Universal bars them and any company that they are affiliated with from owning a theme park in Florida. Also, if you look at Blackstone's performance and balance sheet, while they COULD do the deal, the fact that GE would sue the hell out of them, plus finding the debt, might be a deterrent.
Robert Niles

Published: August 4, 2008 at 5:53 PM

Well, game, set and match there, it would appear....
Ted Heumann

Published: August 5, 2008 at 12:12 PM

BUT does that agreement bar Merlin??

I think Merlin would be a good match. They seem to have done a VERY good job with Legoland California.
They have spent some capital lately, have done a lot of advertising and have executed VERY well.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Previous article: What's the best thing to eat at a theme park, round 3: Turkey Leg vs. Monte Cristo Sandwich?

Most Popular U.S. Theme Parks

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney California Adventure
Universal Studios Florida
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios Hollywood

Popular International Parks

Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo DisneySea
Disneyland Paris
Universal Studios Japan
Hong Kong Disneyland
Europa Park
Walt Disney Studios Paris
Universal Studios Singapore

Features, News and Advice

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Theme Park Insider Awards
What's Under Construction for 2015/6?
How to Stay Safe at a Theme Park

Books and Shirts

Theme Park Insider Visits Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Theme Park Insider Visits The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Stories from a Theme Park Insider Get Theme Park Insider Shirts and Hoodies


2015 · 2014 · 2013 · 2012 · 2011 · 2010 · 2009 · 2008 · 2007 · 2006 · 2005 (Dec 27-31) · 2005 (Jan-Dec 26) · 2004