NBCU Eyes Theme Park Stake


could be making moves to secure
full ownership in its Universal
Studios theme parks, according
to reports last week claiming
the programmer was in talks with
Blackstone Group to acquire its
stake for about $1 billion.

Blackstone has been shopping
its 50% interest in the
theme parks — Universal
Studios and Islands of
Adventure in Orlando,
Fla. — since March. According
to entertainment
website The Wrap, Blackstone
and Comcast,
which owns a 51% interest
in NBCU, are close
to a deal. The Wrap said
that a transaction must
be completed by June
12, otherwise Blackstone
can shop the property elsewhere.

Comcast and NBCU officials declined to comment.
Most observers believed that Comcast
would pass on the Blackstone stake – the theme
parks represent a small portion of overall revenue.
But comments at recent investment conferences
by Comcast brass – chief fi nancial officer Michael
Angelakis said the theme parks were “a reasonably
good business” at the Barclays Capital conference
in late May, adding that it will make a decision
on the parks in the next few weeks.

— Mike Farrell