Universal Studios Japan gets $250 million

HONG KONG — Universal Studios Japan, a theme park operator in Osaka, has received a $250 million financial injection from PAG, a Hong Kong-based private equity firm.

According to USJ’s chairman Glenn Gumpel the new cash will go towards recapitalizing the company and help Universal launch a Harry Potter attraction.

The size of PAG’s equity holding has not been revealed.

Opened in 2001, Universal Studios Japan was the first of Universal’s theme parks to open outside of the U.S. It lost money and was rescued in 2004 by Gumpel. In 2009 it was taken private by investors including Goldman Sachs, MBK Partners and hedge fund Owl Creek Asset Management.

The deal has got the financial community excited as it is one of the few private equity investments in Japan since Shinzo Abe became prime minister and is a rare move into corporate equity, rather than Japanese real estate.

PAG is operated by former Weijian Shan, a well-known dealmaker, who was previously with TPG Capital Management.

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