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Comcast Acquiring Majority Stake in Universal Studios Japan

Comcast Acquiring Majority Stake in Universal Studios Japan
Comcast Acquiring Majority Stake in Universal Studios Japan
The Comcast Corporation is making its biggest overseas investment, as the largest U.S. cable operator again seeks international growth, by acquiring a 51% stake in Universal Studios Japan for $1.5billion.

Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit will pay the hefty price tag for the operating company of the Universal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka, Comcast said in a statement. Current shareholders Goldman Sachs Group Inc., MBK Partners Ltd., and USJ Chief Executive Officer Glenn Gumpel will still retain minority stakes.

“We see Comcast and NBCUniversal becoming more of a global company,” Brian Roberts, Comcast CEO, told reporters in Osaka on Monday. “This is the beginning of us making more global investments.” He said the USJ deal was Comcast’s biggest overseas investment yet.

The American media company previously tried to buy Time Warner Cable, but dropped the $45.2billion deal in April amid opposition from antitrust regulators. Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit, which owns Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, reportedly already has license and operating agreements with Universal Studios Japan.

The transaction reflects an enterprise value of 750 billion yen ($6.2 billion) for USJ, with 400 billion yen of that being debt, said Ankur Sahu, Goldman Sachs managing director, at the Osaka briefing. USJ listed in 2007, before being taken private by Goldman two years later as visitors slumped. The company had said it planned to seek a re-listing this year.

There are no plans for a public listing for USJ in the “near future”, although new board members of the company could revisit the plan, Roberts said. The USJ deal is expected to close in three to four weeks, and Gumpel will step down as CEO, to be replaced by Jean-Louis Bonnier, according to Comcast.

About Comcast Corp.
Comcast Corporation, formerly registered as Comcast Holdings, is an American multinational mass media company and is the largest broadcasting and largest cable company in the world by revenue. The company was founded in June 28, 1963, by Daniel Aaron, Ralph J. Roberts, and Julian A. Brodsky. The company is currently run by CEO Brian L. Roberts.


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