Posted Monday, August 11, 2008 1:24 PM | Contributed by Jeff
The owner of Parques Reunidos, one of Europe’s leading theme-park operators, has hired investment bankers to advise on a possible $4.5 billion (£2.3 billion) bid for the American company behind Sea World and Busch Gardens.
Read more from The Times (UK).
At least if it happened, BGE would have a slightly more authentic European flavor . . .
Maybe its a bit to much on a personal level for me, but we are operating as business as usual until things finish going through anti-trust and the shareholders sign off on things to make the I-B/A-B merger final and then I-B determines the final sale price and offers up the parks.
Most frustrating thing of this is whomever takes over the parks; the speculation of how the park will be run, what idealisms that Busch has will be kept (AB/BEC are very much into making the park "green" for example), and how the employee base will be taken care of weigh in on my mind.
Not to mention the benefits they even give the guests as pass holders, the theming and care taking that has made Busch one of the most "beautiful parks" (BGW), etc. etc...
Its just all interesting when you start to really look at the people who are "interested" and then investigate how things are currently run behind the scenes at those respective suitors and compare to current..
But hey.. not all change is bad right??
Seriously, though, to echo some of ridemcoaster's sentiments, what will happen to all of those programs that Sea World runs to protect aquatic wildlife, including the program to help save the Manatees in Florida?
The Busch Parks are all more than the parks themselves. By removing Busch from the equation, I fear the specialness of the parks will be lost and they will become just like any other park out there run by Cedar Fair or Six Flags.
The only parks I can think of in the US that even approach those subjects in any meaningful fashion are SFDK and HFEC's SDC/DW. SFDK might be a reasonable model for a "compromise solution"...but considering the profitability of the BEC parks as they are (significantly above the industry averages), any buyer might be wise to leave things alone for a couple years...
Standard government laws will stop any knucklehead undercaptialized company from operating the Sea Worlds, since care of the animals are first priority. They have the bread to do it.
As for Kennywood, they wanted to 'own it', not run it. Many Kennywood faces are still there. If the same goes for Busch, they have enough talent in the management pool to operate and grow.
These guys could be a force in 5 years, and there is not park group to belly up to the bar with a better product. I know that Disney is king, but they are in their own little realm.
Not many themers can go toe to toe with Kennywood, Busch Gardens Virginia, and Sea World Orlando. Period. Nobody.
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