What's up with the Blackstone/Busch Entertainment deal?
Here's my prediction for the Blackstone Group/Busch Entertainment Corp. deal, involving the sale of the Busch Gardens and SeaWorld theme parks. Keep in mind that this a prediction, offered Monday night, when nothing yet has been announced. Read the comments through the night for news of any official announcement.
The prediction: A deal will be announced between midnight and noon (Eastern Time) on Tuesday. The deal will be for the purchase of a majority stake in the Busch Entertainment Corp. by Blackstone (70-80%). InBev will retain a minority stake. The Busch family might purchase a small stake, as well. Neither Merlin nor any other Blackstone holding will be part of the deal.
BEC will be privately held going forward and current BEC management will remain in place, as will the names of the parks. InBev will retain pouring rights within the parks for its alcoholic beverages, reflecting its minority stake in the company.
No replacement for Big Bad Wolf will be named. ;-)
This is an open thread, for news of the BEC deal, or any other theme park-related news. If nothing's happening, feel free to jump into the comments with your predictions, as well. If there's any wagering involved, remember, the house gets a taste of all action.
As always, thanks for reading Theme Park Insider!
Update: [9:22 PDT AM Tuesday] Well, noon has come and gone on the east coast, and nothing yet. So either I am an idiot or the announcement will come after the close of trading today.
Jason and I do talk from time to time, you know....
Got any predictions related to Blackstone/Inbev's corporate policy regarding the use of animals as performers (i.e.: Shamu)?
As has been mentioned several times before, Blackstone does NOT have a rule on performing sea animals; MERLIN does, and yes, Blackstone owns Merlin. But to avoid any future problems, I believe, as again has been mentioned in several postings, that Blackstone will NOT place Worlds of Discovery (what WAS Busch Entertainment) under the Merlin umbrella, and run it as a separate entity. I also believe that Blackstone is doing this to also see what plays out with the NBC Universal/GE/Vivendi/Comcast debacle, they may wish to purchase or increase their ownership in UO as well. I am still leaning more toward a licensing deal with whatever is left from NBCUni to use the Universal name and logo in several WOD parks.
Mr. Anonymous Writes: As has been mentioned several times before, Blackstone does NOT have a rule on performing sea animals; MERLIN does, and yes, Blackstone owns Merlin. But to avoid any future problems, I believe, as again has been mentioned in several postings, that Blackstone will NOT place Worlds of Discovery (what WAS Busch Entertainment) under the Merlin umbrella, and run it as a separate entity.
Merlin may have a policy that will not allow show animals, Blackstone with them is just a financial backing, its the money behind it. Its going to be the same with BEC, Blackstone isnt going to buy all the BEC parks which ALL have animals, especially Sea World, there would be no point to buy the business if there are no animals to show. So BEC will continue to run as BEC or WOD whichever you call it, and Blackstone will be what blackstone is, an investment firm, not a boss, managment for the parks will remain the same, which means, BEC will not change. If you think otherwise, or think that it should change, maybe you should crawl back into the hole you came from. Unless you visit these parks weekly, and actually see the good that they do, you dont know anything.
Wow, random IP address, that's kinda harsh. But probably factually correct.
Business dynamics are no different from family dynamics. In other words, they vary drastically: in some families, dad rules with an iron fist and tries to control how everyone lives their lives
The more I read the Merlin policy the more I believe it IS in fact simply a way for them to get activists off their case. They continue to do Dolphin demonstrations at Gardaland in Italy, and their policy states...
First of all everything posted in response to my comments was written under the assumption that Blackstone would not place the WOD parks under Merlin.
Very interesting. The only thing I would say is that to the average park guest, they probably wouldn't even care as long as they are getting their money's worth when going to these parks.
What about the clydesdales?
I agree with Justin. For the most part, I would have to believe that Blackstone would continue to tend to be a "hands off" kind of investor. I think that's the most important word that everyone on this thread has missed: Investor. That's all they would be. True they would "own" both Merlin Entertainment and Worlds of Discovery, but they are not (generally) a day-to-day mangaging owner. So, they tend to run their investments as exactly that, investments. All are separately business entities that happen to have the same investor. In this sense, and in this sense only, would I believe that they can run Merlin (based in the US) and Worlds of Discovery (based in the US) without so much as a hiccup as far as animal performances, or lack of them, in either case.
Sorry that should read "Merlin (based in the UK)" not the US. Apologies.
Interesting that Noon EDT has come and gone and the market is now closed and still nothing.
Mr. Rede writes: "Blackstone would continue to tend to be a "hands off" kind of investor."
You know if you go to Google Finance, and look up BEC it shows Busch Entertainment Corp. under "Related Companies" as having a "Private Exchange Symbol".
TH-- USF has a show-- an entertainment show featuring many different types of animals (Animal Actors on Location). I understand how this Merlin policy seems like a huge mountain, but it is really just a mole hill and it is time to walk around it!
22.214.171.124 writes: USF has a show-- an entertainment show featuring many different types of animals (Animal Actors on Location).
Ok we,ve all walked arounf this for weeks now. And heres a real simple take on the whole deal.
Jason Garcia reporting sale is done deal for upwards of 2.7B. Story to be up shortly.
Here's the link to the story. no word yet on Busch family involvment. Wonder what this means for the Clydesdales? Hmmm... seems like everything is coming to fruition... they're already down to 4 horses and the dalmations were put up for adoption.
Breaking News! WISH 2 just confirmed Blackstone has purchased Busch Entertainemt for $2.7...
And Blackstone quickly confirmed that BEC will remain fully incharge of the day to day operations. AKA, the shows remain. Blackstone is an investment group, not a management corporation. Just like Merlin Ent. they will have a majority share if not 100% ownership of BEC. But that does not translate into management of. To my knowledge, they do not manage Merlin.
I work for the InBev/Busch parks and we have been bought out. We all have gotten emails stating what will happen. We will be sold Jan/ late Jan.
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