Comcast NBCUniversal said it agreed to purchase 49 percent ownership of Universal Studios Japan (USJ) from its current partners, including Goldman Sachs, former USJ Chief Executive Officer Glenn Gumpel, Asian private-equity firm MBK Partners and U.S. hedge fund Owl Creek Asset Management. The purchase price is ¥254.8 billion (US$2.3 billion), valuing USJ at ¥840 billion (US$7.4 billion), including the assumption of USJ net debt.
The deal is expected to close before the end of April 2017. At closing, Comcast NBCUniversal will own 100 percent of the theme park destination.
Universal Studios Japan opened in 2001 as a Japanese company with a license from NBCUniversal. It has seen strong growth in popularity, attendance and revenue. It features classic Universal attractions as well as attractions and shows specifically designed for the Asian market.
USJ opened the hugely popular, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter themed area in 2014. It opened the Flying Dinosaur roller coaster last year, introducing a new generation of coaster experience. Later this year, it will open Minion Park, the world’s largest Minion-themed area – featuring a heartwarming and hilarious 3D ride, shops – and more.
Scheduled to open in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Super Nintendo World at USJ will be a highly themed and expansive area featuring globally popular characters and their game worlds from Nintendo brought to life.
The deal will more closely align USJ with Comcast NBCUniversal’s ongoing investment strategy for its theme parks. Universal theme parks around the globe have seen significant, continued, investment from Comcast NBCUniversal – opening many major attractions representing world-class intellectual properties and resulting in significant growth in both attendance and revenue.
“Universal Studios Japan is an amazing and incredibly successful theme park,” said Tom Williams, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Universal Parks & Resorts. “This acquisition will bring an even stronger future for the theme park, its guests and its team members. We are thrilled USJ will fully be part of the Universal family and look forward to continuing to create a remarkable experience for our guests.”
Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses.
NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.
Universal Parks & Resorts, a unit of Comcast NBCUniversal, offers guests around the globe today’s most relevant and popular entertainment experiences. With three-time Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg as creative consultant, its theme parks are known for immersive experiences that feature some of the world’s most thrilling and technologically advanced film and television-based attractions.
Comcast NBCUniversal wholly owns Universal Studios Hollywood, which includes Universal CityWalk Hollywood. It also owns Universal Orlando Resort, a destination resort with three theme parks (Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay – grand opening May 25, 2017), five resort hotels, and Universal CityWalk Orlando. In addition, Comcast NBCUniversal owns 51% of Universal Studios Japan, in Osaka and has a license agreement with Universal Studios Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore. The company has also announced plans for a theme park in Beijing.