NBCUniversal to Take Full Ownership of Universal Studios Japan in $2.3B Deal

AP
Universal Studios Japan

The company, which already owned a 49 percent stake in the Osaka theme park, will buy out its current partners.

Comcast's NBCUniversal said Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire the remaining 49 percent stake in Universal Studios Japan for $2.3 billion from its current partners, including Goldman Sachs, former USJ CEO Glenn Gumpel, Asian private-equity firm MBK Partners and U.S. hedge fund Owl Creek Asset Management.

The deal values the Osaka-based theme park operation at $7.4 billion, including the assumption of debt. Upon completion of the transaction, the company will own 100 percent of the theme park destination.

NBCUniversal has been seeing strong growth of its theme parks business and has committed to investing in it for further growth.

"The acquisition further demonstrates Comcast NBCUniversal’s confidence in the future growth of Universal Studios Japan and the company’s strong interest in the Asian market — the company is also building a theme park destination in Beijing and licenses a theme park in Singapore," it said.

Universal Studios Japan opened in 2001 as a Japanese company with a license from NBCUniversal. It has seen strong growth in attendance and revenue.In 2015, NBCUniversal acquired a 49 percent stake for $1.5 billion.

Scheduled to open in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Super Nintendo World at the park will be a themed area featuring globally popular characters and their game worlds from Nintendo brought to life.

The transaction is expected to close before the end of April.

"Universal Studios Japan is an amazing and incredibly successful theme park," said Tom Williams, chairman and CEO 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."

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