Report: MGM to Build Theme Park in India

Park would be built near western city of Pune

NEW DELHI -- MGM Studios has entered into a franchisee licensing agreement with Lavasa Corp., a subsidiary of real estate conglomerate Hindustan Construction Company, to set up a Hollywood theme park near the western city of Pune, with an initial investment of  4.5 billion rupees ($100 million), according to a newspaper report here Tuesday. 

HCC's Lavasa project is a major new township coming up near Pune – about three hours' drive from Mumbai -- spread over 25,000 acres. Quoting an unnamed source, the report in business paper The Economic Times stated that the MGM theme park would be spread over 75 acres and that the park would be operational by 2014. “The initial license pact has been signed based on a forecast of two million visitors every year once it is fully operational,” the source was quoted stating.

When contacted by THR, Lavasa Corp offered no comment.

If the MGM project goes through, it would be Lavasa's second theme park, as the company has an existing pact with Belgium-based Spaceworld International to set up Asia’s first space edutainment theme park. Spread over 65 acres, the park  is already under construction for a 2012 launch. Among its other affiliations, Lavasa also has an agreement with golfer Nick Faldo to develop a Nick Faldo golf academy, which will launch by 2012.

In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that Universal Studios was in talks with leading Indian conglomerate and DreamWorks' equal partner Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group to build a $1.5 billion theme park and resort spread over 400 acres, with the location still to be finalized between Mumbai and Delhi.

MGM was in the news here recently, with reports of Indian business group Sahara offering a bid to take over the debt-ridden studio in an apparent agreement with James Bond producer EON Productions, but London-based EON denied any involvement with the bid.