Comcast to Make Its Biggest Investment Overseas
Comcast’s NBCUniversal said on Sunday that it has agreed to buy a controlling stake in the Universal Studios Japan (USJ) amusement park. The American multinational mass media company will be paying $1.5 billion for the stakes in USJ Co. The deal marks as Comcast’s biggest overseas investment.
Brian Roberts, Comcast chief executive officer, told reporters in Osaka on Monday that in his view, both the companies jointly will become more global company. This is just beginning of the making more global investments, he said.
Philadelphia-based Comcast, which in April dropped its bid to buy Time Warner Cable Inc. amid opposition from antitrust regulators, has been looking for growth in other areas including digital media.
Its NBCUniversal unit, which owns Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, has license and operating agreements with Universal Studios Japan, according to its website.
Comcast’s last major investment before USJ was in 2008, when its NBC Peacock Fund led a consortium to buy German online games-maker Bigpoint GmbH for 70 million euros ($78 million).
Roberts said so far, they have no plans for a public listing for USJ in the near future, although new board members of the company could revisit the plan.
The USJ deal is expected to close in three to four weeks, and Gumpel will step down as CEO, to be replaced by Jean-Louis Bonnier, according to Comcast.
Katsunori Dobayashi, an analyst at Iwaicosmo Securities Co., said, “The new Harry Potter attraction had an impact and brought a lot of customers”.
USJ had sales of 138.5 billion yen in the fiscal year ended March 2015, up 44% from a year earlier.
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