Par enters theme park territory

Pact signed with Spain's Terra

MADRID — Viacom has dipped a toe into the European theme park biz, as subsid Paramount Parks inked an in-principle agreement Tuesday to take over management of troubled Spanish theme park Terra Mitica.

Deal was signed in Spain by Paramount Parks prexy and CEO Jane Cooper and Terra Mitica execs. Terra Mitica is controlled by the regional government of Valencia in southeastern Spain and local savings banks.

Par Parks owns and operates five theme parks in North America — in Cincinnati; Richmond, Va.; Santa Clara, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Toronto. In a statement, the company “looks forward to establishing a Paramount Parks presence in the European market.” Par Parks added, however, that “a number of undisclosed conditions” still have to be met for it to assume Terra Mitica management.

Built on the Mediterranean coast, the 240-acre Terra Mitica opened last July but has failed to meet admission and revenue targets.

Deal is an attempt to turn around Terra’s ailing fortunes by bringing in foreign expertise, and a first step in Paramount Parks’ potential assumption of part ownership of Terra Mitica.

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