Theme park ownership future uncertain in A-B/InBev deal

Posted Tuesday, July 15, 2008 1:13 PM | Contributed by Jeff

The announcement of Anheuser-Busch Cos.' takeover by a giant Belgian brewer came with plans to sell unidentified "noncore assets" to raise $7 billion to help finance the $52 billion purchase. That is raising questions over the fate of its Virginia properties, including the Busch Gardens Europe theme park, the Water Country USA water park and Kingsmill Resort & Spa, all near Williamsburg.

Read more from The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 1:33 PM
Orlando-area officials are concerned as well...

Blackstone and Parques Reunidos were the only suitors mentioned, along with a possible fecthing price of $3.5-4B for all the parks, in TX, VA, FL, and CA....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 2:20 PM
The pessimist in me says visit while you can... before "Busch Gardens Europe" becomes "Park View Estates; Williamsburg's Newest Town Home Community."
Tuesday, July 15, 2008 4:05 PM
This company got AB at a steal because of the lower dollar. They'll have to give the parks away at a steal for the same reason. I suspect they'll wait and see. It's not like the division is hemorrhaging money.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008 6:29 PM
I am baffled that Auggie rolled over that fast. He must have forgot that is better to die on your feet then live on your knees. Good luck keeping quiet at board meetings while they sell the Clyesdales for dogfood.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008 6:45 PM
I think it would be really dumb of them to sell off the parks. The parks turn a nice profit. The division pretty much runs itself and they provide a lot of free advertising and good will for AB. I think it would be very short sighted for InBEv to sell them off. That and there would seem to not be alot of companies who could buy them right now.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008 11:59 PM
I know of at least one...
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 8:46 AM
yea, thanks to PR, that leaves Knoebels and us standing alone.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 8:58 AM
It's absolutely disgraceful that InBev would off load the parks. It's only more disgraceful that the US lost yet ANOTHER company. Those parks for the most part are so well run, beautifully themed and maintained and offer enthusiasts and families alike a great experience - not to mention a sizable income for InBev. And let's not forget the fantastic coasters featured at the parks. The Busch parks were one of the few parks left that gave coaster designers freedom to create great designs rather than just throw a coaster into a park. I sincerely hope the parks will be well taken care of....and not bought out by cedar fair.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 9:48 AM
^ Cedar Fair might be interested in BGA... not that many trees to rip out and replace with cement but that is a long shot at best. However they would probably pass on BGE... the tree removal costs alone would be just too great.... It would cost too much money to remove all charm and personality and atmosphere from a beautiful park like that.

As for the SeaWorlds... CF could buy them, turn Shamu's tank into a wave pool, add a slide or two, and then close down everything else, selling off Kraken, SteelEel, and all of the Atlantis' to a scrap dealer from Cleveland.*** This post was edited by SLFAKE 7/16/2008 9:59:39 AM ***

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 11:40 AM
I would hate to see CF touch those beautiful parks. They'd be ruined within five years.

What's to say that the parks are definitely going to be sold off? InBev hasn't said anything, and as others have said, it's not like they're losing money.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 12:08 PM
InBev has made some overtures to those in a position to seems likely that InBev wants to "stick to their core business", and entertainment/hospitality is something A-B did (and did well) as an off-shoot, mainly because of the family's interests.

Plus there's the matter of paying off the purchase, and the amusement business (BEC) is something that qualifies as non-core assets in which InBev has no experience (or apparently interest).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 12:25 PM
Cedar Point knows the value of animals in theme parks.Not everyone wants to ride a B&M.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 12:41 PM
It's not about who built the coasters, the ride experience on each of BG's coasters is unique and exciting. BG africa has a dueling GCI woodie, and a Schrwartzkopf looper in addition to its B&M collection, while BG europe has two arrow coasters in addition to its B&M collection. While it's true that Sheikra (a B&M) replaced an Arrow...I'm sorry but Arrow is often associated with unnecessary pain so to me that appears to be a decision to put quality over quantity which is a virtue many parks should learn.
*** This post was edited by bsstweb 7/16/2008 12:43:18 PM ***
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 1:14 PM
I know I am going straight to hell for saying this...but...

Even if Six Flags bought them out, they would have much better ride operations!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 2:27 PM
If Six Flags bought them out Six Flags stock might skyrocket all the way to $0.90 a share!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 2:45 PM
Agent Johnson Cedar Point knows the value of animals in theme parks.Not everyone wants to ride a B&M. LOL.

True, they have learned a painful lesson on this one.

Wait, maybe they could sell to Six Flags, thus increasing their debt, to later sell it to Cedar FAir...
Why does this sound familiar???
*** This post was edited by FLYINGSCOOTER 7/16/2008 2:48:36 PM ***

Thursday, July 17, 2008 3:59 PM
I live only 14 miles from BGE and WCUSA. I am so disappointed with the stockholders of AB. I feel the American people should stand up and tell them how we feel about them taking greed over pride and doing the right thing. They would have made the same money, just at a slower pace. This could backfire on them. This was another American company getting taken from within. I hope InBev understands that everything other the then beer is what make AB so special. I don't drink, but I have always thought highly of AB as a Company. Now, that is gone. I am worried who will be next. It has been amazing to watch the stockholders on Wall street turn so greedy in the last few years with everything, and see everything in the country fall apart. For the Theme Parks, I hope they will be safe from InBev ways of doing business. But we will have to wait and see..... I hope they will change their mind on what they are thinking and see they can make money with everything and not just the Beer. BG and all the AB Theme parks has been ran very well, and they are on the top of list because of it. If they have to be sold off, I just hope someone can keep a great thing going. If they are closed it will hurt the area, and tourist is a big part of the local market. I would love to see another American Company like Hershey take them over. Hershey is alot like AB, and also run a great park. There got to be a company that care to save a wonderful place for the family to go. I also think it will also help their bottom line while they are doing the right thing.*** This post was edited by 7/17/2008 4:04:50 PM ****** This post was edited by 7/17/2008 8:58:00 PM ***
Friday, July 18, 2008 6:11 PM
The bottom line as it looks today is how business is done in the USA now. Not how it's going to do in the long term, as it once was. The shareholders financial advisors tell them that the economy is soft, take the money and run, and to heck with the people who will be directly and indirectly affected by the sale. I would surmise that the same thing happened with the Kennywood Entertainment Co sale. As far as Hersheypark, it is not owned by Hershey Foods, it's a seperate company.

Every community that has a BEC park whether it is small or large should be sweating bullets right now. *** This post was edited by Dutchman 7/18/2008 6:19:19 PM ***

Monday, July 21, 2008 12:59 PM
Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company - Yes it is a seperate company just like Busch Entertainment is a seperate Company. I hope the new owner will keep a wonderful place going when it is sold. Who ever it may be.

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