Belgian brewer InBev is trying to round up $50 billion in financing to take over St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, owner of the Busch Entertainment Corporation, which operates the Busch Gardens and SeaWorld theme parks.
Busch is hiring its own financial advisers to fend off the attempt. Busch recently moved its theme park operations from St. Louis to Orlando, and some analysts believe that InBev would have little interest in running theme parks, and might look to sell the parks to raise money to help cover the cost of the potential deal.
In the past few years:
That's left Busch as the model of stability in the industry. So much for that stability, now.Tweet
Maybe Universal could buy it up, that would be some Major comp for Disney then!
That would leave Merlin, or an investment bank. Personally, I am intrigued by a Merlin fit. I think the synergies are there with SeaWorld/SeaLife and the educational aspects of the Busch parks fits well with Legoland's market niche.
That said, I hope that Busch fights off the deal. We need more diversification in the global market, not more consolidation.
Also, I don't know if they would have the capital or be able to get the funding to do so, but what about Herschend Family Entertainment as possible suitor?
It's hard to see how the parks could be better run, so I think a change in ownership could only be worse.
I love the way one time when I took a concern to a customer service rep, part of the reply I got was, "Mr. Busch wants us to do ... " as part of the explanation for what I'd seen. Gosh, the last time I worked for a big corporation, in a senior-level management (albeit professional) position, I don't think I ever had cause to invoke the name of the CEO. But this employee spoke as though she felt she received personal directives on how to do her job from Auggie IV. In short, it is apparent when you visit BGE that there is a real culture in A-B of customer service and company pride, and that can't be bought and shouldn't be sold.
So many Busches have their jobs wrapped up in the companies, too. Now, I'm sure they could all retire today, with or without selling the company, and live comfortably the rest of their lives. But when you have that kind of family history with a company, why would you want to? Can't tell me Ginny doesn't like her position with the Conservation Fund, and so on.
It seems clear they don't want to be taken over, and I hope they can withstand any hostile takeover bids. Many really special things would indeed be lost, both with the outstanding and always-changing brewery operations (it astounds me the way they keep old brands alive but also constantly introduce new and seasonal products)and the wonderful BEC.
Comcast did try to buy Disney, but no good....
I also do not think that Busch parks will be bought. They have invested way too many time and effort in this
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Sea World and Busch Gardens will probably be sold if the deal goes through. Therefore no more free beer at the hospitably centers. Plus Discovery Cove and Aquatica……
I really hope not. I enjoy the parks the way they are now…
Here is an idea; maybe the TPI’s can buy these parks. We will chip in a few bucks and buy out the parks from InBev…