Disney parking in Hong Kong?

Gov't to lend $1 bil for majority stake

HONG KONG — The Hong Kong government is likely to lend Walt Disney Co. up to $1 billion in exchange for a majority stake in a new theme park in the city, according to published reports.

The government would then sell part of its stake to a major developer. The front-runner for that role is apparently Sun Hung Kai Properties, according to the South China Morning Post.

A Disney spokesman in California declined comment about theme park negotiations in Hong Kong. A representative of the Hong Kong government said only that “the two sides have made significant progress on negotiations over the last few months.”

In March, the Hong Kong government said it was in talks with Disney to build a 318-acre theme park near the new international airport.

A June deadline to reach an agreement has been extended to the end of October. Many observers expect some kind of announcement on Oct. 6, however, when Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-Hwa makes his annual policy address.

The park would be Disney’s third in Asia, after two in Japan. It also operates Euro Disney near Paris, in which it owns 39%, in addition to Disneyland and Walt Disney World in the U.S.

(Bloomberg News Service contributed to this report.)