Blackstone Buys Busch Gardens & SeaWorld Parks for $2.3 Billion

Theme Park News

Blackstone Buys Busch Gardens & SeaWorld Parks for $2.3 Billion
The proverbial writing has been on the wall ever since InBev purchased Anheuser-Busch last year. The Belgian brewer planned to sell A-B’s theme parks as they were not the companies core business; brewing beer. After months of speculation, U.S. equity firm Blackstone has stepped forward to purchase Busch Entertainment Corporation’s parks which include 10 amusement parks: SeaWorld Orlando, San Antonio, & San Diego; Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Busch Gardens Tampa as well as other parks including Sesame Place and Adventure Island. Busch is considered the second-largest entertainment park operator in the U.S. after Walt Disney Co. and has about 25 million visitors a year and 25,000 employees.

Thankfully, Blackstone Group has theme park experience with investments in Universal Studios Orlando, Legoland, and Madame Tussauds wax museums. That sets my mind at ease as Busch’s parks are my favorite of any park chain. Also, quotes like these from both sides of the deal make me confident in the chains future too:

Blackstone sees opportunity investing in media and entertainment businesses, said Michael Chae, senior managing director at Blackstone.

“We are delighted to be investing in a company with such iconic brands, irreplaceable assets and strong growth prospects,” he said.

It’s not clear how much the business is worth. According to Anheuser-Busch InBev’s annual report from 2008, the entertainment unit had pro-forma revenue of 932 million euros, or about $1.37 billion. It has not included the unit’s quarterly performance in its results this year.

Busch Entertainment CEO Jim Atchison said the company looks forward to growing the business under its new owners, who he said have strong experience in the entertainment industry.

Park guests and employees should expect to see only improvements, he said.

“We’re very committed to growth, to maintaining the quality of the parks, the investments of the park,” he told The Associated Press.
Yahoo Finance

What’s Your Take?
What do you think of Busch’s sale to Blackstone Group? Leave a comment below.

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

10 Comments

  1. Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

    Reply
  2. OMG! All those parks! Just think, Manta, Alpengeist, and your favorite, Kumba. This has got to be the biggest report of the year, even beating out the Intimidator rides. How do you feel about this? Feedback, someone!

    Reply
  3. If anything, all i hope is that blackstone has vekonma to re-build the big bad wolf. i know they didnt make it but an arrow suspended track is basicaly a vekoma LIM lanch coaster`s track flipped over. they could also make new trains with lapbars instead of shoulder restraints.they may not be able to make an exact copy, but at lest some thing close, i mean, all they have to do is follow the area of land moved aside from when they built it 25 years ago.

    Reply
  4. If I'm not mistaken, Blackstone is just buting the parks and absorbing the profit. I heard that they'll just keep everybody in management the same. That means that we will (thankfully) gat the same ol' epic B&M coasters that are themed to infinity.

    Reply
  5. I'd be disappointed if any Vekoma went into BGW and I think the likelihood of that happening is about 0.0001%. Plus, rebuilding BBW would be a disaster. Even if the ride wasn't bad, it could never live up to the legend.

    Reply
  6. Chris, I disagree with you heavily on the rebuilding of a wolf 2. On it being a vekoma though you are absolutely right. As for what the coaster will be to replace the beloved wolf, who knows but i'm sure BGW will gives us another world class coaster!

    Reply
  7. QB3 is right this is HUGE!!! If I owned those parks I would sell them for something like 3 or 4 billion. I hope blackstone dosn't change any MAJOR theming.

    P.S. Please click my name link 🙂

    Reply
  8. WELL, I just hope they give us all 'coaster enthusiasts' what we want at BGW. I am in the same tank as saying, "REBUILD THE BIG BAD WOLF" and call it something like, "Son of the Wolf." Basically, I'd use the same track configuration, but add a higher hill and make it longer in the middle. Suspended would be fine, but even if it was just on a regular type of steel track, just make it more exciting with larger hills, and let it go down through the village with twists and turns. I think this could be a great idea, "Son of the Wolf–they killed his father, and the son is here for revenge!" wooo hoooo!!!

    Reply
  9. From what Rollercoaster Dude just said, you can't kill the wolves! Because if you do, the rest will come looking for revenge! GO BIG BAD WOLF!!!!!

    Reply

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