AB-Inbev completes sale of parks for $2.3B-plus

AP News
Posted: Dec 01, 2009 3:38 PM

Anheuser-Busch InBev has competed the sale of its 10 theme parks, including the three SeaWorlds and two Busch Gardens, to private equity firm Blackstone Group for at least $2.3 billion.

The deal was first announced in October between the world's largest brewer, based in Belgium, and Blackstone, which is based in New York and has investments in Universal Studios Orlando and Madame Tussauds wax museums.

The deal's completion was announced in a filing with the Securities and Exchange commission. The sale agreement means Blackstone will pay $2.3 billion in cash for Busch Entertainment Corp. and give Anheuser-Busch InBev the right to up to $400 million of Blackstone's initial returns.

Busch Entertainment will now be called SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, according to the filing.

The deal includes Busch Entertainment's 10 parks, with three SeaWorlds in Florida, Texas and California; Busch Gardens in Florida and Virginia and others such as Sesame Place and Adventure Island. Busch is considered the second-largest U.S. entertainment park operator with about 25 million visitors a year and 25,000 employees.

The brewer of top-selling Bud Light has been shedding assets to help pay for the $52 billion takeover of St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch that formed the company last year.