Published: October 7, 2009 at 9:23 AMYou realize that they waited until today just to spite you, right?
Published: October 7, 2009 at 9:26 AMBlackstone, the New York-based private-equity giant, will pay AB InBev $2.3 billion in cash plus give the beer brewer a right to participate in its return on investment up to $400 million.
Exactly how BAD is the balance in the WOD check book?
Published: October 7, 2009 at 9:27 AMGlade its finished...Hay robert Think I beat you check you blog ....
Published: October 7, 2009 at 9:47 AM"Additional incentives" etc - what does that mean exactly? I guess that means things like naming rights for the Busch parks, selling their beer and other branded products that the patrons of those parks have become accustomed to, which is good I suppose.
If 2.3 - 3 Billion is "pennies"...why? What do you estimate they are actually worth?
Is there a stipulation in the agreement that all the current management and staff will keep their jobs?
And what about the structure - will they morph into a sister "child" company like Merlin, except based in the US?
Published: October 7, 2009 at 9:53 AMWooo whooo! This deal is nothing but the best for WOD! A move from ABInbev who actively looked to sell the parks is great. Blackstone wanted the parks, you dont drop $2.5 billion on something to watch it go to pot. They have the financial means to support the parks and keep that quality standard that we have all become accustom to over the years.
Published: October 7, 2009 at 9:56 AMMr. Wallace,
They just bought ten theme parks. Media reports put the construction cost of IOA (one park, one hotel, two parking garages, some roads and one entertainment district) at $1 billion ... ten years ago.
Disney just bought Marvel for $4 billion.
I reiterate PENNIES!
Blackstone is making a BOLD MOVE ... and getting a bargain price.
Published: October 7, 2009 at 9:58 AMI posted my comment before your update, so, um, never mind on most of them :)
Why no Clydesdales? What sets them apart?
Published: October 7, 2009 at 10:04 AMThis sure puts Universal in a strange position. One of its main investors is now one of its competitors. Meanwhile another of its competitors has its product placed in their parks.
Published: October 7, 2009 at 10:07 AMPrice sounds about right. Cedar Fair bought Paramount at 1.24 billion for a bunch of seasonal parks, 2 billion for a bunch of year round parks sounds right.
Published: October 7, 2009 at 10:14 AMNo Clydesdales? Well then I have a collectible Platinum Pass from BGW. Never going to give that up!
Published: October 7, 2009 at 10:24 AMMr. Mike,
Four of the Blackstone parks were in the top 20 in attendance in 2008 - welcoming almost 18 million guests. Cedar Fair Entertainment had just two parks in the top 20 -- welcoming about a third of what the Blackstone backs did (a little over 6 million people).
Blackstone got these parks cheap.
Published: October 7, 2009 at 10:39 AMIncredible! With this acquisition, Blackstone now has interests in Merlin, Busch and Universal Florida. In 2008, Blackstone's parks welcomed 47 million guests. The acquisition of Busch jumps that number to 70 million.
Published: October 7, 2009 at 10:41 AMDoes anyone know if this affects Grants Farm in Missouri?????
Published: October 7, 2009 at 10:56 AMIs anyone else extremely disappointed that they won't actively pusue synergies-- particularly in the Orlando market?
Seems like a real waste of a great opportunity. I guess now we'll just have to sit and wait to see what happens with NBCUni
Published: October 7, 2009 at 11:00 AMGrant's Farm will not be affected as it is not part of Busch Entertainment.
Published: October 7, 2009 at 11:04 AMWOW guess I'll have to be sure to stock up on Clydsdales momentos when I go in a couple of weeks. It's really going to be weird not seeing those beautiful beast at the parks. :(
Published: October 7, 2009 at 11:18 AMI wonder if Blackstone's relationship with Universal Orlando includes a piece of Wet & Wild ... which of course is in direct competition with Aquatica..
2008 Attendance for Orlando water parks:
Blizzard Beach & Typhoon Lagoon (Disney) - 3.95 million
Wet & Wild, Adventure Island (Tampa) and Aquatica (Blackstone) - 2.85 million
Published: October 7, 2009 at 12:25 PMMore Fun With Attendance Stats!
based on 2008 numbers. If Blackstone had bought the Busch Parks and Universal and added that attendance to their current Merlin Entertainment parks (approx 84 million), they would still be 33 million short of the total Disney parks attendance (117 million).
Published: October 7, 2009 at 2:22 PMI think I'll have a Sam Adams to toast the deal...
Published: October 7, 2009 at 2:40 PMI wonder if this deal includes Grant's Farm in St Louis? That's one of our favorite places in St Louis to visit and it's the home of the Clydesdales. They rest there when the they are not on tour. They live better than most people in St Louis do!
Published: October 7, 2009 at 3:35 PMGrant's Farm is not included. It is not a theme park. It was barely included in the orginal InBev takeover.
Published: October 7, 2009 at 4:44 PMAgain, the deception continues. The Clydesdales on exhibit don't belong to AB. They belong to the park. They'll be auctioned off like the others. AB was a company that used to say "Making Friends is our business."
Published: October 7, 2009 at 6:11 PMGood news. Also good to know that they are retaining the management. I hope that they invest in these parks and maintain their quality. A company that just spent 2.3 billion tends to look for ways to cut cost, and cutting cost tends to have an effect on the quality of a park.
It does seem like a pretty good price for those parks. I would be curious to see their balance sheets and just how profitable they are. The quality is obviously good across the board, and the costs are likely high. Attendance is good, but with a year round schedule. Blackstone is no slouch in the money department, but I'll be curious to see the parks in action without the giant corporation (and their bank account) behind them. Just playing devil's advocate I guess. The new owner has a great reputation and I'm sure they will keep things going well for Busch Gardens and Sea World.
Published: October 7, 2009 at 6:17 PMThe Clydesdales are owned by Anheuser-Busch, the same company that owns Grant's Farm, not Busch Entertainment Corporation.
Published: October 7, 2009 at 6:19 PMThe Clydesdales belong to AB, not the park. They come from the AB Clydesdale Program and thus will not be returning to the parks. That is sad!
Published: October 7, 2009 at 6:31 PMThe refurb at DCA alone is costing Disney $1.1 billion and Tokyo DisneySea cost $4 billion to build. I hate myself for it, but I completely agree with TH Creative: $2.3 billion is a steal for all the Busch parks.
And now we can rest easy knowing the parks are (hopefully) in good hands.
Published: October 7, 2009 at 6:37 PMI know most people on here are visitors to the parks but I work at one and I am concerned about the changes that are bound to happen.Our hours have been slashed to the bone right now(I have only 9 hours this week)and am worried about my 401k.All of these parks employ alot of people.
Published: October 7, 2009 at 7:30 PMI think that the current cuts have more to do with the recession and a lousy tourism market than any change in ownership.
Published: October 7, 2009 at 8:09 PMAgain, the horses in the parks are NOT owned by AB. They are not a part of the Budwieser Clydesdale hitches (based in Merrimack, St. Louis and Ft. Collins.) They are property of the parks. The majority of the horses at SWO have already been moved off property to private farms. Same was done with the dalmatians that were part of the hitch (although they actually were adopted by park employees.) Why would you continue a marketing deal with the new owners of the park, only to take the single most identifiable icon of the company out of the parks? Also, I wonder of the 1.3 million in debt that BEC will take on, if any of that will be bought by the Busch family. I think that's only wishful thinking at this point, as I suspect they're going to take their hundreds of millions and their private jets and go play elsewhere. Very sad. I've been a platinum pass holder since they started the program and was one of the first to warn of all the changes and the sale. They denied, denied, denied. First it was the hospitality house, then it was the hitching of the horses and the removal of the Donkey (which, opposed to the Clydesdales WAS actually owned by AB.) I doubt that we'll be renewing.
Published: October 7, 2009 at 8:09 PMRobert, I work at SWSD and the cuts came with InBev demanding us go to a zero budget. Prior to InBev I'd get 20-30 hours a week off season. When InBev came I was lucky if I got that during summer.
Published: October 7, 2009 at 8:12 PMI work at an AB park too and agree with Robert, the (drastically) cut hours are from the economy.
Based on what I've read about Blackstone and many TPI reader's comments on the org, I'm very excited about the purchase. I'm looking forward to good things. I only hope that park guests are as enthusiastic. (I recall several guests who seemed to just be clearly having a bad day or bad luck, would blame it on the buyout from InBev-- I hope this doesn't happen in the future)
And yes, I'm also curious to what's the future of animal shows at the parks. SeaWorld just isn't SeaWorld without those awesome shows.
Hmmm... and I wonder if I can use my employee ID and get free into the other parks under Blackstone... Hmmm... Roadtrip???
Published: October 7, 2009 at 9:12 PMRegarding Blackstone getting a steal by purchasing BEC for only $2.3+ billion. On the local news today they mention that if this sale took place two or three years ago, BEC would have probably been sold for around $6 to $7 billion. Thought it was interesting to pass on.
On another note, I'm honestly excited about this. I have been following this since InBev purchased Anheuser-Busch and out of all the possible suitors for BEC, Blackstone was my personal favorite and I'm excited to see how BEC moves forward from this deal.
Published: October 7, 2009 at 9:35 PMI think Anheuser-Busch left its American pride.
Published: October 8, 2009 at 2:01 AMPersonally, I'm excited and thrilled to hear that the "Here's to the Heroes" campaign will continue. At least through next year anyway. :)
Published: October 8, 2009 at 2:43 AMDont buy it. I worked for a company that was "taken over" by Blackstone Group, an inventory service called RGIS. Within a couple of years they had gutted the company by closing offices and running off any of the long time employees who had built the company. This was all done in an effort to save money and give their principal owners more money. Anybody see what the CEO of Blackstone pulled down last year- over 600 million dollars in compensation.
Published: October 8, 2009 at 5:56 AMInbev slashed our hours not the economy.
Published: October 8, 2009 at 6:59 AMAs the family member of a Clydesdale Handler at one of the theme parks I can say that they ARE owned by AB...as well as all of the equipment and dalmations. We knew this was coming, it was just a matter of when. They've been scaling back the Clydesdale program since InBev bought AB. Things started changing even before that deal went through because of the anticipation of it.
Published: October 8, 2009 at 7:41 AMWell I am not sure at Sea World, but the Clydesdales at Busch Gardens Williamsburg come to the park in Budweiser Clydesdales truck each year, so at least those are owned by AB.
Published: October 8, 2009 at 7:48 AM"Inbev slashed our hours not the economy"
That must rate among the more naive statements ever posted to this site. I'll grant that InBev doesn't sound like the friendliest company on Earth to work for, but, like any other company, it operates within the context of the economy. Plenty of previously great companies have been cutting hours and letting workers go in this recession.
Published: October 8, 2009 at 9:36 AMattacks on your bloggers is very unprofessional.
Published: October 8, 2009 at 2:40 PMGrant's Farm in St. Louis is still operating a web site. Maybe it's too soon to take it down, but I'm hopeful that AB will still maintain GF. But I'm not in the "loop" like the others on here seem to be.
Published: October 8, 2009 at 5:50 PMIt is a shame that the clidestales are leaving. Busch Gardens in Williamsburg is my favorite park out of the many I have been to. I hope it remaines that way. As far as the big bad wolf goes I went to say good-by to it. I hope they put an awesome coaster in!
Published: October 9, 2009 at 1:36 PMI've been a BGE season-passholder for years on end. This has to be considered good news in the same sort of way so many of us considered the InBev acquisition to be bad news. Hopefully, Blackstone set aside a few (say 25-30 million) dollars for improvements and a new coaster to replace BBW! As much as I love BGE, the heavy crowds (especially weekends) and lack of coasters begins to wear thin regardless of how good the food is and how pretty the landscaping is. I-305, just up the road (which is the "new state-of-the-art" and, perhaps, a top-10-in-the-world) will likely provide the impetus required to move a new coaster @ BGE along quickly.
Published: October 10, 2009 at 7:11 AMI work at one of the Sea World parks and I have had serious concerns all season about the comming sale. Most of the team members and guests I have talked to have the same concerns. The question as to what is going to happen to all the animals not just the clydesdales is still not answered. The whole buisness as usual retoric will only last so long. This is a firm that specialzes in leverage buyouts. They by cheap as possible gut and sell companies. Anyone whe thinks Inbev was bad better rethink that. I think the worst is yet to come. Heaven forbid they push the parks to adopt Merlin's philosophy on the animals. Most of Sea World's animals were born in captivity and are largely pets. Try throwing a pet into the wild. It sounds at least like the clydesdales have a happy future. It is the whales and other aquatic animals I'm worried about. At least the humans involved can see whats comming, plan and prepare. They cant! Even the guests are seeing and feeling the changes. They miss the Sea World that used to be and it is just so sad.
Published: October 10, 2009 at 10:22 PMPrivate equity firms aren't in the business of building or improving companies. They will cut costs and quality will likely fall some. They will sell the company as soon as the economy improves. Don't expect any cash infusions into infrastructure ( i.e. rides). Nothing new will be built until the vermin management at Blackstone sells the company.