Comcast NBCUniversal is to take full control of Universal Studios Japan (USJ), following an agreement to purchase a 49 per cent ownership from its current partners.
Upon completion of the deal, the US media conglomerate will own 100% of the theme park destination. The purchase price for the transaction is ¥254.8bn ($2.3bn), valuing USJ at ¥840bn ($7.4bn).
The shares will be purchased from numerous partners in the venture, including former USJ chief executive officer Glenn Gumpel; Goldman Sachs; Asian private-equity firm MBK Partners; and US hedge fund Owl Creek Asset Management.
“The acquisition further demonstrates the group’s confidence in the future growth of Universal Studios Japan and the company’s strong interest in the Asian market,” Comcast said in a statement.
Elsewhere in Asia, the group is currently building a theme park destination in Beijing and licenses a theme park in Singapore.
Universal Studios Japan opened in 2001 as a Japanese company with a licence from NBCUniversal. It has seen strong growth in popularity, attendance and revenue.
USJ opened the hugely popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter themed area in 2014. It opened the Flying Dinosaur roller coaster last year, introducing a new generation of coaster experience.
Later this year, it will open Minion Park, the world’s largest Minion-themed area – featuring a heart-warming 3D ride, shops and more.
Scheduled to open in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Super Nintendo World at USJ will be a highly themed and expansive area featuring globally popular characters and their game worlds from Nintendo brought to life.
“Universal Studios Japan is an amazing and incredibly successful theme park,” said Tom Williams, chairman and chief executive officer of Universal Parks and Resorts.
“This acquisition will bring an even stronger future for the theme park, its guests and its team members. We are thrilled USJ will fully be part of the Universal family and look forward to continuing to create a remarkable experience for our guests.”
The transaction is expected to close before the end of April 2017.