Posted Friday, February 25, 2005 9:27 AM | Contributed by supermandl
A team led by a former top Viacom executive has quietly approached the media giant about buying its Paramount Parks unit, The New York Post has learned. Tom McGrath, who stepped down as head of Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Enterprises last summer, has lined up investment firms Spectrum Equity Partners and GS Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs' private equity arm, to back him in his efforts to acquire the theme parks business, sources familiar with the situation said.
Viacom co-COO Tom Freston confirms that they're considering "doing something" with the Paramount Parks unit.
Paramount parks definitely is in good shape compared to SFI (as we all know)so I'm not really sure why viacom would want to sell & if they did who they'd sell to,still for paramount there's nowhere to go but up even higher....assuming they play their cards right.
The only thing that worries me about investment organizations getting involved is that "outsiders" don't seem to get the business in terms of it being the ultimate hospitality business. Snyder didn't get that for Six Flags, and it's hard to come up with worse ideas than those Six Flags already had!
Batwing Fan SFA, sounds like Viacom wants to sell not because the chain isn't doing well but because they want to focus on "core" assets, presumably broadcasting and production, possibly publishing. I've long thought a chain of theme parks was an odd fit for Viacom, since they really didn't use the parks as effectively as Disney in terms of cross-promotion -- and when they did, it was too often rather ham-handed. Introducing areas themed to Wayne's World, for example just struck me as inane, since the popularity of the films would wane and the theming, in time, would just make no sense. You'll notice that most of the Wayne's World theming is long gone.
I just hope Universal doesn't get in on the act because it would only mean more simulated attractions based on films than they have at paramount parks now,now if CF buys them out they'll definitely improve it even more than it is today....the only thing I'd be worried about is how well they'd be able to maintain the woodies in the chain.
I've seen a few indications that they aren't as "in the black" as one might think.
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