Merlin IPO suggests purchase of Busch Entertainment

Posted Thursday, September 10, 2009 10:17 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Rumors of a potential sale of Busch Entertainment Corp. were rekindled this week by news that Merlin Entertainments Group, long thought to be a potential Busch suitor, is preparing to go public. Merlin is close to finalizing a plan for an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange, according to a report last weekend in The Independent of London. Merlin is owned by a private-equity giant, the Blackstone Group, which also holds a 50 percent stake in Universal Orlando.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Thursday, September 10, 2009 9:33 PM

phoenixphan :-) said:
On a side note, instead of a new land, how about retheming New France. Not sure, but I think they were taking geography lessons from Britney Spears when they though that Canada is a European country...

There's no Canada like the Frnch Canada it's the best Canada in the land... ;)

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Thursday, September 10, 2009 9:59 PM

BDesvignes said:
Imagine if Cedar Fair got a hold of these parks. Haha goodbye trees and hello land of concrete.

Yeah, I can't figure out where they hung all of the lights for Starlight Experience. </sarcasm> I know you're new here, but really, that's one of the most tired things ever talked about.

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Friday, September 11, 2009 8:06 AM

Semi related to this thread but very interesting part of the puzzle.

http://www.barkeeper.ie/News_Item.asp?News_ID=1866

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Friday, September 11, 2009 10:08 AM

Jeff said:
Everything is on hold because they're trying to sell. Buyers don't want to be tied to contracts they had no part in creating.

Busch does everything YEARS in advance, and usually with funds they already have. So any contracts that had been signed they would have gone through with, like with the Sesame Street area.

So now I really wonder if there was a contract signed to do something for 2010, or how much they had to pay to get out of one or just put it on hold. Or are they just waiting to announce anything until the park is sold (if that is soon)...

To many "what ifs" at play here.

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Friday, September 11, 2009 10:36 AM

Busch is much smarter to not get into contracts during this time.

Least for a major capital project anyways. I wouldnt get your hopes up for 2010 on anything huge.. Changes perhaps.. Huge.. Not so much.

Last edited by ridemcoaster, Friday, September 11, 2009 10:37 AM
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Friday, September 11, 2009 11:54 AM

Just because you plan years out in advance doesn't mean you're ordering rides that far in advance. Isn't that obvious? I mean, nothing is arriving at the park.

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Friday, September 11, 2009 6:31 PM

Jeff said:
Just because you plan years out in advance doesn't mean you're ordering rides that far in advance. Isn't that obvious? I mean, nothing is arriving at the park.

No one said they ordered a ride, it was said, "major expansion". But indeed Busch parks DO order rides a couple of years in advance. Alp was built in 1997, the concept was around 93 or 94. Apollo was built in 99, was in concept before Alp was complete.

My whole point being a ride must have not been in the works or it would have been started by now. As far as "major expansion", that could have simply meant a new country. We could be shocked and get an announcement, but at this point I am not holding my breath. I think it will be 2010 before we see anything major at BGW.

We may get a new show, I think Emerald Beat ran for the last time along with the BBW on Labor Day.

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Friday, September 11, 2009 7:07 PM

Danny Biggerstaff CoAsTeRDaN said:

I was told back in May that there was a large expansion planned at BGW for 2010 by a high up at the park. I now have been told that everything has been put on hold...

I would run with the last part you heard though.. That sounds much closer to the truth.

Last edited by ridemcoaster, Friday, September 11, 2009 7:19 PM
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Friday, September 11, 2009 8:49 PM

Agreed, that's logical enough. But why do enthusiasts constantly observe non-patterns as rationale for every future action? Things change, people change, business practices change. The new normal is to not plan years in advance for anything.

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Friday, September 11, 2009 9:48 PM

Jeff said:
But why do enthusiasts constantly observe non-patterns as rationale for every future action?

Who knows? Why do enthusiasts who are in the know post as if the information they are privy to should be obvious to everyone? :)

A major attraction is being removed from the park. I think it makes sense for folks to be wondering what's next in terms of additions. I don't think the average person should be expected to know how the potential purchase of BE will impact things.

As far as past patterns dictating the speculation, well, past is often times prologue. And even if that's not the case here, I prefer that kind of reasoning to the 500 ft, whatever, whatever speculation that is often what we see. :)

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Friday, September 11, 2009 9:57 PM

Jeff said:

BDesvignes said:
Imagine if Cedar Fair got a hold of these parks. Haha goodbye trees and hello land of concrete.

Yeah, I can't figure out where they hung all of the lights for Starlight Experience. </sarcasm> I know you're new here, but really, that's one of the most tired things ever talked about.

Haha it's just a joke no need to get upset.

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Friday, September 11, 2009 11:05 PM

No one is upset. I'm just helping you not make the same mistake again.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009 12:12 AM

Jeff said:
The new normal is to not plan years in advance for anything.

That is not true at all Jeff and you know it. Everyone in the industry has a 3-5 year development plan; whether those things actually become reality at the time construction needs to proceed is another story.

A perfect example is Disney and Universal. As their "Imagineering" departments have been minimized and all the work farmed out I have been in talks to go work with a major company in LA that is taking over all of that work for the parks. There are multi-million dollar projects that this company is bidding on currently that do not open until 2-3 years from now but are green lighted. The same can be said for projects that I know this company has done work on for Six Flags.

The only companies I can say that probably do not have a specific long-term plan but instead "general ideas/wishes" would be like Waldameer and other family owned or non-corporatized businesses.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009 8:09 AM

why do enthusiasts constantly observe non-patterns as rationale for every future action?

This is just human nature. People are always looking for explanations, and they use the past to help predict the future. It's often wrong---it's only the first two phases of the scientific method of observe-hypothesis-experiment---but it's what people do.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009 9:52 AM

mlnem4s said:
That is not true at all Jeff and you know it. Everyone in the industry has a 3-5 year development plan; whether those things actually become reality at the time construction needs to proceed is another story.

Don't tell me what I know. Business, in the general sense, has to be more agile than that to respond to markets that change faster and faster all of the time. A five-year plan isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Can you make generalizations about what you'd like to do in five years? Sure, but you're not going to lock yourself into them when you can't reasonably predict the state of the economy, your customers, your competition and the cost of goods and services.

I can name three significant cap ex projects announced recently that were decided on within a year or less. Things have changed.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009 10:03 AM

I can name one that was decided less than a week before the announcement. :)

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Saturday, September 12, 2009 10:08 AM

Hey, that was one of my answers! :)

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Saturday, September 12, 2009 11:15 AM

What are they?

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Saturday, September 12, 2009 11:46 AM

I said I could name them, not that I would. There are a lot of things I know that are not my place to repeat.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009 11:51 AM

So your reponse is based on Cedar Fair Jeff, certainly not Disney, Universal or Six Flags with its new management. This is not to say these parks don't make small projects on a year or less basis (ie. a new revenue location or general fix-and-repair) but certainly not of any magnitude involving millions of dollars.

Last edited by mlnem4s, Saturday, September 12, 2009 11:58 AM
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