Theme parks could be sold in Anheuser-Busch deal

Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 10:03 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Anheuser-Busch's amusement parks, including popular SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks, could be sold if InBev's bid to buy the company is successful. In a conference call Thursday, InBev said it may sell some of Anheuser's non-core assets. The theme parks aren't seen as a natural fit for Anheuser. But they're profitable and possibly attractive to private-equity players or other large entertainment companies, experts say.

Read more from Dow Jones via CNN.

Friday, June 13, 2008 1:05 PM
Whatever happens, I just pray Cedar Fair stays clear away from these parks.

Some of the best parks in the country, easily, and they need somebody that can maintain the beauty and craftsmanship of these parks.

I wonder if Sea World would be willing to buy and operate them?

I just have bad feelings if the Busch parks are sold... Oh well, we can hope not!

Friday, June 13, 2008 1:33 PM
Sea World is a Busch property too...
Friday, June 13, 2008 1:43 PM
Everybody keeps thinking of the two Busch Gardens parks and the three SeaWorld parks, but there's also:

Sesame Place
Discovery Cove
Adventure Island
Water Country USA

to consider as well.

Friday, June 13, 2008 2:16 PM
LOL, man totally missed that one. I knew when typing it didn't sound right but had a hunch they were the same company, haha.

Well disregard that comment :)

Friday, June 13, 2008 2:30 PM
I can't see any of the traditional operators being able to buy in. I suspect private equity is the only route they could go. I suppose Disney could buy them, but would they risk bastardizing the mothership in Orlando?
Friday, June 13, 2008 3:14 PM
Well BGA is my favorite park, could anybody ever imagine something so disturbing as Six Flags Africa or Europe or Africa and Europe Cedar Fair Properties. I know that neither of these chains will be able to pick up these parks, but I am just getting a good laugh out of thinking what would happen.

What would happen to Manta if the parks got sold, I'm assuming something like the Indiana Beach and Steel Hawg thing, and what about the parks in Dubai?

Friday, June 13, 2008 3:42 PM
Why would the sale affect Manta? The ink on that ride contract has been long dry.
Friday, June 13, 2008 5:25 PM
Keep the beers flowing and have Miller Brewing purchase the parks.

Miller Gardens? :)

Friday, June 13, 2008 7:34 PM
I really could see them just spinning this company off on its own and doing well. The places are profitable, half of them have their own brand (Shamu or Sesame St. or both) and I imagine they would even let the parks keep their names.
Friday, June 13, 2008 10:54 PM
Parque Reunidos is trying to make a splash in the USA, has plenty of experience in animal parks, and has plenty of euros.

Not that I have any insider info... just sayin'.

Saturday, June 14, 2008 2:32 AM
As a fan of Bud Light and Sea World Orlando... sigh.. I'm starting to feel like Ensign Smith about Geauga Lake (sorry)

I love that park!

Saturday, June 14, 2008 5:53 PM least I'll finally be able to get a good beer at Busch Gardens.
Saturday, June 14, 2008 11:54 PM
Walt Disney actually did some little known advising on the original Sea World park and had some informal discussions with the creators of coming in as part owner. He declined.

I think NBC/Universal might have an interest and I wouldn't rule out Disney. It sure would be interesting to watch the development.

Sunday, June 15, 2008 1:09 PM
I think that the biggest hold up (or accelerator) on the deal would be the new Dubai project.
Monday, June 16, 2008 11:01 AM
I think its a good fit for Merlin, ie the Dubai group that bought Legoland and Alton Towers, Disney could pull it off as long as Rasulo gets shown the door. And Miller is already majority owned by foreigners, South American ones at that.

I just hope the Busch's are able to rally the stockholders against the moves.

Monday, June 16, 2008 2:35 PM
I highly doubt that Six Flags or Cedar Fair could even think about purchasing the properties. Six Flags is still in major debt and just tried to decrease its debt by bonds and notes, Cedar Fair just bought Paramount Parks in 2006 so they are still dealing with that. I think if anyone gets the parks it will be a private company if the people who are considering purchasing the Busch Company don't wan to keep the properties for themselves.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008 6:18 AM
If anyone that operates a large park buys them, perhaps Hershey should consider the BG sites. The way the operate their own park is very similar to how the BG parks are run. Just a thought.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008 2:29 PM
CPJ, my sympathies. I love the A-B parks, especially Busch Gardens Africa.

But you know, these properties are simply too profitable for them not to find new owners -- hopefully, good ones. I wouldn't be surprised if they got split up, though, with the SW parks going one way and the BG units another.

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