Breaking: Sources inside Busch Entertainment say the company has been sold to Blackstone

Posted Wednesday, September 23, 2009 8:41 AM | Contributed by rollergator

Employees of Busch Entertainment tell CoasterBuzz that Anheuser-Busch InBev has sold the company to the Blackstone Group, and that an official announcement is forthcoming.

Related: News 13 and The Orlando Sentinel.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 2:47 PM

Wait until somebody makes a Fonger reference two or three years from now. You will live on in infamy, my boy. ;)


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009 4:04 PM

Or until some makes up shirts that say

"Fonger Family reunion"

and wears it to a coaster event

it could even have a bike picture on it

Last edited by kevin38, Wednesday, September 23, 2009 4:06 PM
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009 4:10 PM
crazy horse's avatar

A big question I have is, will they keep the name "busch" in front of gardens?


what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009 4:15 PM

Given the brand recognition that name gets, they would be foolish to drop it -- unless Blackstone is somehow contractually obligated to do so as part of the purchase.


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009 4:16 PM
Jeff's avatar

BDesvignes said:
Blackstone operates it's parks under Merlin Entertainments.

Except they don't always. As a partner in Universal Orlando, they don't. I forget what the operating company is that's owned by them and NBC Universal. I wouldn't be surprised if Busch Entertainment simply continues to be called that.

Private equity companies are a mixed bag. Some are very hands off and just let the businesses they buy do their thing and grow, others want a hand in everything. My suspicion is that they'll let Busch do its thing.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009 5:14 PM

Ensign Smith said:
Wait until somebody makes a Fonger reference two or three years from now. You will live on in infamy, my boy. ;)

Well, at least I can laugh at myself. :)


Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009 5:20 PM
BDesvignes's avatar

Yea that's a different situation. I think the company that owns Univeral Orlando, Universal City Development Partners, is a 50/50 split between Blackstone and NBC Universal.


Da Bears

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009 5:31 PM

Is it possible that Blackstone would sell all of its U.S. Merlin properties to Busch? In other words making Merlin their European company and Busch their American company?

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009 5:48 PM

You mean put the Busch parks, Seworld parks, and Legoland under one division?

That MIGHT work.


Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009 7:08 PM

Oh, you mean kind of like what Palace Entertainment SHOULD HAVE done with the park chain they bought?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009 7:49 PM
Jeff's avatar

Or at least have the leadership of the parks run the FEC's, instead of vice versa.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009 10:37 PM
rollergator's avatar

Oddly enough, the Merlin pass cost less this year than the Busch pass...and I think I like the general direction of their parks better. Alton, Chessington, and Thorpe were great, and I even hear they have (gasp!) water fountains at Legoland Windsor - apparently the only two in the country. Busch parks used to be among my very favorites, but the drop-off has been pretty noticeable (and I'm purposefully not counting Wolf, since it really does seem to have been inevitable in the next year or two under any circumstances). What do I look for in an amusement chain? Theming, landscaping, food, employees friendliness, employees "hustle". HFEC scores high, Paramount scored high, Merlin/Blackstone scores high...I think I'm going to be OK with this.

Thinking Paramount....wish more of their methodology had made it into CF. Have to wonder how much of the Busch culture will come through this "merger" in some of the ways that Paramount failed to keep its identity through the CF deal...

P.S. Thorpe needs about a dozen high-capacity additions. It felt like PNE Vancouver (i.e., "crowded" would be charitable) on the property size of PCW.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009 2:42 AM

Jeff: Exactly what I had in mind.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
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/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

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Thursday, September 24, 2009 10:57 PM

Seeing how there was never a press release or announcement, does that mean this was just a rumor?

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Friday, September 25, 2009 12:33 AM
Jeff's avatar

No... this is certainly no rumor. Two sources at two different parks at this point, people in a position to know, are confident it's nearly a done deal.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Friday, September 25, 2009 1:09 AM

...but apparently some things haven't quite clicked into place as neither InBev, Busch Entertainment, or Merlin has officially said anything yet. Doesn't mean it isn't happening, just that they aren't prepared to talk about it yet.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

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Friday, September 25, 2009 8:54 AM

It is probably a timing issue

They want to announce close to the IPO

so they get a bounce from it

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Friday, September 25, 2009 9:11 AM
Jeff's avatar

You don't announce an IPO and do it the next day. At least, not in the US markets. It's a long process. If they close a deal in the next few weeks, and IPO will be a ways out regardless.

I think there are just "due diligence" issues that need to be worked out.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Friday, September 25, 2009 11:26 AM

I think if this happens it's great news. Blackstone/Merlin runs some spectacular parks, and InBev really didn't want to run the park. This could even be good news shorter-term than we expect, if it means the budget for BBW's replacement doesn't get as severely cut as InBev was rumored to want (I stress the rumor part there, I don't know this for sure...)


--Greg
"You seem healthy. So much for voodoo."

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Friday, September 25, 2009 1:35 PM

Would be even better if it meant a huge cut in the budget for BBW's demolition, but I know that's mere wishful thinking.

When I rode it on Labor Day weekend, I had forgotten what a wonderful ride that thing truly is...!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

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