Comcast buying majority stake in Universal Studios Japan
Rights to the Universal film and theme park businesses were received four years later.
Comcast NBCUniversal has announced in a press release that they are purchasing a 51 percent ownership in Universal Studios Japan in a recapitalization transaction valued at ¥183 billion or $1.5 billion.
“Glenn has played a tremendous role in creating a thriving theme park destination that is both a strong business and a great source of entertainment for our guests”, said Tom Williams, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Universal Parks & Resorts.
“We will make more investments – not only Osaka but also other areas”, Chief Executive Brian Roberts told a news conference.
The company sharpened its focus on Asia after canceling plans to acquire Time Warner Cable (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/comcast-kills-45-billion-time-warner-cable-deal-2015-04-24)(TWC) for $45.2 billion in April, following objections from regulators.
As Comcast reaps the financial benefits of its 2011 acquisition of NBCUniversal – ratings, ad sales and box office receipts are up across TV programming and movie studio divisions – theme parks have been a surprise boon for the conglomerate.
United States cable company Comcast Corp will spend US$1.5 billion to buy a majority stake in Universal Studios Japan. “Theme parks – when you think of NBCUniversal – are 20% to 25% of operating cash flow”.
In the US, NBCUniversal is gearing up for the opening this spring of an attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood based on the hugely popular books and movies about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.
Comcast’s largest outbound investment before USJ was in 2008, when its NBC Peacock Fund led a consortium to buy German online games-maker Bigpoint GmbH for 70 million euros ($78 million), according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Universal Studios Japan now operates as an independent company under license from NBCUni with a combination of Universal attractions as well as those specifically designed for the Japanese market.
According to Comcast, the USJ deal with be closed in a month from now.
Comcast said it expects to close the deal in the first half of November.