2009 in review: The year of the theme park deal
Written by Robert Niles
Published: December 28, 2009 at 10:16 AM
No, I'm not talking about discounts for customers, though those certainly were available in 2009. This was the year that all five of the top U.S. theme and amusement park chains were involved in a major financial deal.The Walt Disney Company bought Marvel Comics, creating a potentially sticky situation for Universal, which has hosted the Marvel characters in its Islands of Adventure theme park, a deal that Universal says would keep those Marvel characters out of Walt Disney World.Vivendi sold its stake in NBC Universal, clearing the way for Comcast to buy controlling interest in the owner of the Universal Studios theme parks.Six Flags filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, which it is now trying to emerge from by ceding much of the ownership of the company to its debt holders.Anheuser-Busch InBev sold the Busch Entertainment Corp. theme parks to Blackstone Group, which then renamed the chain SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.Finally, Cedar Fair, owner of Knott's Berry Farm, Cedar Point, Kings Island and other parks, found a white knight in Apollo Management LP, which agreed to buy the debt-strapped amusement park chain.
So, which was the biggest deal of the year?
Let's hear your thoughts about these stories, in the comments.
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