US: Anheuser-Busch InBev sells off theme parks to Blackstone
The brewer, which has spent the last year divesting non-core operations said today (7 October) that the sale will raise in the region of US$2.7bn for A-B InBev.
The purchase price will be comprised of a cash payment on closing of US$2.3bn and a right to participate in Blackstone's return on its initial investment capped at US$400m.
Reports earlier this month said that a deal was near.
If approved, the deal with Blackstone will mean A-B InBev has completed around $6bn of the group's target $7bn in assets disposals. The group is committed to disposals to help pay down loans taken out to fund InBev's $52bn of A-B late last year.
Blackstone will acquire A-B InBev's wholly-owned subsidiary, Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC), the second largest entertainment park operator in the US with around 25m visitors a year. BEC operates ten entertainment parks throughout the country, including three SeaWorld parks in Orlando, Florida, San Antonio, Texas, and San Diego, California, two Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Florida and Williamsburg, Virginia, and other family entertainment attractions in Orlando, Florida, Tampa, Florida, Williamsburg, Virginia, and Langhorne, Pennsylvania.
"Busch Entertainment Corporation is a high performing asset with a world-class management team, but not a core business for Anheuser-Busch InBev," said company CEO, Carlos Brito. "We are pleased to have reached an agreement with a buyer who understands the industry and has a strategic vision for the business. The sale of BEC represents another important milestone in our commitment to de-leverage the company and will also allow us to continue to focus on our core brewing business."
Last month, A-B InBev completed the sale of its brewing operations in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Scotland, including the Tennent's lager brand, to C&C Group. There has also been reported interest in the company's brewing assets in Eastern Europe.
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