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Comcast acquires full ownership of Universal Studios Japan

February 28, 2017, 8:14 AM · NBCUniversal owner Comcast announced this morning that it is obtaining the remaining 49 percent of USJ Co., the owner of Universal Studios Japan, that it did not control.

The purchase gives Universal full ownership of its top three, most-attended theme park resorts around the world: Universal Studios Japan, the Universal Orlando Resort, and Universal Studios Hollywood. Its fourth branded park, Universal Studios Singapore, remains the property of Resorts World Sentosa and is operated under license from Universal.

Comcast obtained majority control of USJ Co. in 2015. Comcast reports that today's purchase price was US$2.3 billion, placing the valuable of Universal Studios Japan at $7.4 billion, including the assumption of outstanding USJ Co. debt. The deal is expected to close in April.

Universal Studios Japan opened in 2001 and attracted 13.9 million visitors in 2015, according to the most recent TEA/AECOM Theme Index report. That makes USJ the most popular single park in the Universal family, the fourth most-attended park the world, and the world's largest theme park outside of Disney.

In 2020, Universal Studios Japan will open Universal's first Nintendo-themed land, topping am ambitious expansion schedule that will see the installation of Universal's largest Minion-themed land later this year, an expansion of its Jurassic Park area last year, and the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2014.

Universal Parks and Resorts earlier this month launched a U.S. national ad campaign with that unifying brand for its Orlando and Hollywood parks. Comcast obtained full ownership of the Universal Orlando Resort in 2011, which previously had been a partnership with private equity firm Blackstone Group.

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Replies (8)

February 28, 2017 at 9:53 AM · For perspective, Six Flags currently has an enterprise value of $6.98B for the entire company. Cedar Fair is at $5.28B. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is $3.29B.

Another point, I'm curious why their price for this 49% was so much higher than the price for the first 51% (which was $1.5B). They already knew about Nintendo, the Olympics, etc., so there may be something else there.

February 28, 2017 at 10:47 AM · This is good news for Universal. It's time to bring Universal's own management into running the parks.

I can see Disney taking back Hong Kong Disneyland in the future especially with the public's concern about pouring money into a money losing venture. The issue is the profits are all going to Disney and not to the government. Funny how that happens. With Disney owning Paris Disneyland, they are free to make faster decisions that benefit the parks.

February 28, 2017 at 11:18 AM · WOW...
The $3.8 total cash outlay AND the assumption of a lot of USJ debt makes taking full control VERY EXPENSIVE!

Not that long ago, on this site, Disney was being trashed for the cost of Shanghai. But, the Shanghai joint venture took a field and created a totally new Disney theme park experience for just over $5B.

#ThanksShanghai for proving Michael Eisner and Bob Iger RIGHT!

March 1, 2017 at 2:38 AM · It's bizare that the Japanese owners wanted to sell it, in the first place...
March 1, 2017 at 8:21 AM · Robert why is it that as US & Disney keep getting profits and buying everything SeaWorld keeps loosing money and attendance? Do you think US would buy them to turn them around ? Could it be because they own zero hotels ?
March 1, 2017 at 8:22 AM · I have been to Universal Studios Singapore, and although small, it is superior to both USJ and USH (and USF if we're talking studios only). Only IOA puts the Florida resort above Singapore. I think Universal needs to expand the Singapore park and bring in Harry Potter. If that is not possible then Universal should sell the park because it will always be the Harry Potter-less Universal park - and that is not a good deal for South East Asians.
March 1, 2017 at 9:07 AM · Oh gee, stinking Comcast bought more companies.
Amazingly I'm on hold with them right now to cancel my cable service due to the most recent monthly increase (13%) coupled with less channels provided, as per the last 2 annual rate increases.
I guess I know where those price increases for the cable service keep going......and it's not for better cable service or channels!

Hello Netflix, Amazon & Sling.....bye bye Comcast (who'll eventually push customers away from there theme parks and TV stations as well with their greedy management style)

March 1, 2017 at 2:25 PM · Hopefully, this means they'll institute park re-entry. Waiting five hours to enter WWoHP is much too long.

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