Joshua Counsil

Published: July 13, 2007 at 4:41 PM

Way to stick it to the man.

Power to the theme parks!

Ben Mills

Published: July 13, 2007 at 5:12 PM

Interesting rebuttal to the NYT-initiated scandal from Blackstone:

Blackstone Says The New York Times Inaccurate And Misleading

Well, interesting to the extent in which "nuh-uh!" and ignoring many of the Times' criticisms forms a valid rebuttal. If they didn't happen to own every single theme park that I visit on a regular basis, I too would probably be joining the hate-parade. When you've got a monopoly on an industry - as Blackstone do in the UK theme park industry (and the cookie industry, incidentally) - I don't think this issue of good name really comes into it in a big way.

Larry Zimmerman

Published: July 13, 2007 at 7:19 PM

I think I'll save them the trouble of reporting my ticket price as income and not visit any of their facilities.
Joseph Boone

Published: July 14, 2007 at 1:22 AM

I'm an accountant, but it's always difficult to distill things like this down to a point where you can talk about it without writing a book while still being clear (especially to non-accountants) but here goes.

First of all, the writer has definitely tried to stack the argument and oversimplified how it works to make the company look bad. For starters, he's comparing a tax bill for Blackstone going public with a tax benefit of these write offs when the two have nothing to do with each other. Second, he ignores the fact that goodwill is typically written off over a very long time, decades in fact. Blackstone will almost certainly sell these parks within several years so they will end up with only a small portion of the tax write-offs discussed.

Without studying the deal in detail, I can't analyze it much more but this really doesn't look like anything that isn't done by every company when they buy another. The tax rules have been set up this way since before I got into accounting 25 years ago so if this is offensive then it's a little late for either Congress or the blogger to act like it's a surprise.