The Copenhagen Post quotes a Lego press release rejecting "media speculations that a deal has been struck," but adds that the company expects a deal to be complete this summer.
The Journal estimated the sale price at $461 million. The paper also said that Lego would retain a 10-15 percent stake in the parks.
Legoland is developing the most revolutionary concepts in the theme park industry right now, and I would hate to see their parks dumbed down to the level of their competition.
What Legoland needs is capital. With Lego losing cash due to cheap Chinese alternatives, the company doesn't have the money necessary to implement its concepts on a wide scale. Or to promote them to full range of potential visitors.
A sale to a company like Blackstone, if structured right, would allow Lego's theme park management team to retain operational and design control, while giving the parks access to a much more powerful source of needed capital.
And, heck, let's just start the giddy speculation now: If Blackstone's the buyer, how long 'til we see Legoland Florida as the third gate at Universal Orlando? A guy can dream, can't he?
I still believe that Star Parks would be the best owners for the Legoland parks. They may be new(ish) to the theme park world, but they've already shown - with their investments in the former Six Flags Europe park - that they understand the number one rule of the industry: you've gotta spend it to make it.
But hey, if you wanted to go the other direction, there is *plenty* of room for an IOA West in Carlsbad.... ;-)
Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort
Theme Park Insider Books