Busch Entertain­ment sale may be imminent

Posted Thursday, November 6, 2008 11:45 PM | Contributed by Zakkster

Pressure is increasing on InBev to find a buyer for Busch Entertain­ment before the $52 billion deal for Anheuser-Busch closes, perhaps in less than eight weeks. The recent financial crisis has made underwriting the huge deal more difficult, and would-be buyers for Busch’s theme parks appear to be holding out for a better bargain. Blackstone is among the more likely suitors.

Read more from The Virginia Gazette.

Friday, November 7, 2008 2:39 AM

IMO I think it would be best if they hold off selling these parks as they wont get the money that they are wanting in these economic conditions. I do find it interesting that the people who own Alton Towers are possibly interested in buying these parks. Who knows who will come up with buying these parks.

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Friday, November 7, 2008 10:33 AM

Frankly, considering the current condition of the 
financial markets I'm surprised that they haven't backed
out of the buyout altogether.  They are contemplating 
selling off a substantial part of their European assets 
to finance the deal, which sounds like they are not in as
good shape as they were supposed to be.

Last edited by Dutchman, Friday, November 7, 2008 10:34 AM
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Friday, November 7, 2008 10:38 AM

I doubt Blackstone (which also owns Merlin) is in a position to buy anything right now. They have backed out of one deal, and the returns (i.e. the exit potential at their multiples) aren't there, plus they lack the cash. In addition, their partnership agreement with Universal bars them from owning any theme park in the US without Universal's consent, and any theme park in Florida, period.

Just MHO

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Friday, November 7, 2008 4:46 PM

I thought the current owner was interested in keeping the parks themselfs?

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Friday, November 7, 2008 7:47 PM

The "current owner" is the stock holders. There's no huge call for them to say, "OK, give me my InBev shares and a few for the parks."

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Saturday, November 8, 2008 12:12 AM

crazy horse, the rumor was that the Busch family (or a group of stakeholders controlled by same) were interested in keeping the entertainment company. That was before they failed to spin off the entertainment company into a separate entity *before* selling the whole company to InBev. I'm not sure that I see a group of former BUD shareholders trading their shares to InBev and then buying back a piece of the old company when they could have split the business up and excluded the entertainment company from the sale in the first place. The only reason I can think of for that happening is if the InBev deal came together too fast to arrange for such a spin-off, or if the group in question honestly thinks that InBev would be so quick to reject the entertainment company as to sell it off for less than the BUD board and shareholders would have demanded. Having noted those two exceptions, I'm inclined to believe that potential buyers don't include the aforementiond BUD shareholders.

Financial experts, care to weigh in on this one?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008 9:16 PM

Simply selling a business unit (The parks, entertainment group) to a group of insiders (Family, or otherwise), without some competitive bids/offers would have been an immediate shareholders' suit. Regardless of whether there was any ulterior motive, any such transaction taken immediately before the closing of the InBev transaction would have been difficult to arrange given the timing. Thus if there were any such real intention by any group of shareholders to retain the entertainment group, it would have been a non-starter.


Actually, I think it truly was a rumour (Busch Family or loyalists wanting to retain the parks) based solely on someone's desire to see them remain "in the family". This may have been nothing more than a desirous comment taken to its illogical conclusion, much along the lines of the famous 3 B&M units contract. (Couldn't resist)

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Sunday, November 9, 2008 2:51 AM

Well, in theory, the way it would have worked would be that BUD would have split itself into two (or more) business units and then sold the drinkable bits to InBev, with the entertainment company not actually sold...it would have been owned by the same shareholders who ended up agreeing to sell the entire company to InBev. Then any sale of the entertainment company would result either informally by transfer of shares among BUD stockholders, or would be a separate sale. If in putting together the InBev deal they knew that InBev didn't want the entertainment business, that could have all been done beforehand, and could all have been done with the shareholders' +approval.

That it didn't happen that way, I think gives credence to the "wishful thinking" idea.

Gee, a few years ago it seemed the parks were all being bought up by television networks. Now it's the Europeans getting in on the act. :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Monday, November 10, 2008 3:21 PM

Its amusing to read the "wishful thinking" ideas.

However the fact of the matter is that Busch is more attractive to IB for the fact that they can recoup some of the money to pay off the loan debt with the sale of an asset they really have no interest in, and acquire a big brewing company. Assuming of course they find a buyer.. but one thought is this.. for such a big sale.. the final buyer (IMHO) will be the one that has not been named in the media the most..

As far as the family and desire to keep the parks in the family.. I will just say this.

August III was there (BGE) a few weeks ago to say goodbye to the parks.

I often wonder though, will they try to take the fountain in the front of BGE as that was part of the family before the parks were built.

Last edited by ridemcoaster, Monday, November 10, 2008 3:24 PM
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008 4:37 AM

Whoever buys the parks, I just hope InBev keeps a relationship to continue using the name and providing the beer to the hospitality houses.

It would be a shame if any of that changed.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008 10:37 AM

I agree about beer provisioning.. I will certainly miss my free cases of beer every month...

Not ready to have to start buying it..

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008 2:04 PM

Well instead of another repetitive new topic I may as well add to this one..

As expected shareholders voted yes to the buyout at $70. But here's one of may articles to come on this.. Not sure Jeff prefers a new thread.. Seems to fit this one just as well.

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/business_tourism_aviation/2008/11/anheuser-busch.html

The merger is definitely in sight..

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