You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Comcast Buying 51% Stake in Universal Studios Japan

Comcast Corp. will acquire a 51 percent stake in Japanese theme park owner Universal Studios Japan for $1.5 billion.

Comcast is making the deal, announced Monday in Japan, through its NBCUniversal unit. The transaction provides that CEO Glenn Gumpel will step down and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., MBK Partners Ltd. and Gumpel will retain minority stakes in the 14-year-old theme park in Osaka.

Gumpel’s successor will be Jean-Louis Bonnier. He has served as CFO for Universal Parks and Resorts since 2005, leading financial planning, controllership and financial operations and playing a significant role in strategic initiatives for the division.

Gumpel has been CEO since 2004. Universal Studios Japan operates as an independent company under license from NBCUniversal.

The park opened a new $400 million Harry Potter attraction in July, 2014, with the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction and Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster. The park recorded 11.8 million visitors last year, up 16.8%, and revenues jumped 44% to JPY138.5 billion.

“We are excited to expand our global footprint with this wonderful theme park in Osaka and are excited by the opportunities that lie ahead in Japan and all of Asia,” said Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast.  “This investment represents a huge opportunity and commitment to creating value for our shareholders and continuing to grow internationally.”

Through its full acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2013, Comcast owns both Universal Studios and Universal Theme Parks. Comcast said the purchase will allow Comcast NBCUniversal and its theme park and resorts division to expand the Osaka park — along with aligning its strategy for its U.S. parks in Orlando and Hollywood.

Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal, said in a statement, “We want to expand our theme park business around the world and this investment in Universal Studios Japan fits perfectly with that strategy. Our theme parks in the U.S. have performed exceptionally well and we look forward to working with our partners to achieve that success in Japan as we introduce significant attractions at USJ over the next five years.”

Comcast paid General Electric Co. $16.7 billion in 2013 for NBCUniversal, which gave Comcast control of the NBC broadcast network, cable channels MSNBC and Bravo and the U.S. theme parks.

In April, Comcast dropped its bid to buy Time Warner Cable Inc. for $45.2 billion in the wake of opposition on antitrust grounds.



Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Overall View of the Rose Bowl

    One Dead, One Injured in Rose Bowl Parking Lot Shooting

    One person was killed and another was injured Saturday night following a shooting in a Rose Bowl parking lot, the Pasadena police confirmed. According to a statement from the police department, police responded to reports of a physical altercation and shots fired at 11:22 p.m. near the area of Arroyo Boulevard and Seco Street, where [...]

  • Felicity Huffman

    Felicity Huffman Issues Apology After Receiving Prison Sentence: 'There Are No Excuses'

    Felicity Huffman issued a long statement of apology on Friday after receiving a two-week prison sentence for paying to illegally boost her daughter’s SAT score. In the statement, Huffman, in addition to saying  she accepts the court’s decision, acknowledges and apologizes to other parents fighting to get their children into college. Along with the prison [...]

  • Actress Felicity Huffman (C-L) and her

    Felicity Huffman Sentenced to 14 Days in Prison in SAT Cheating Case

    Felicity Huffman was sentenced on Friday to 14 days in prison for the crime of paying $15,000 to boost her daughter’s SAT score. Judge Indira Talwani also ordered her to serve 250 hours of community service and a year of probation, and pay a $30,000 fine. The sentence came as a surprise, as Talwani had [...]


    Rihanna Sings (Briefly), Pharrell and DJ Khaled Rock the Mic at Star-Studded Diamond Ball

    In just five years, Rihanna’s Diamond Ball has become one of the music industry’s biggest events of its kind, nearly on the level of the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala. While there are several dazzling charity events with equal starpower and often-unique performances, what makes the Diamond Ball different is, obviously enough, Rihanna’s supernova aura and [...]

  • Amber Heard Seeks Info on Johnny

    Amber Heard Seeks Info on Johnny Depp's Arrests and Substance Abuse

    Amber Heard is asking Johnny Depp to turn over records related to his arrests and drug treatment, as her lawyers defend her from a $50 million defamation suit. Depp filed suit in March, accusing his ex-wife of tanking his career by writing a Washington Post op/ed alluding to her domestic violence allegations against him. Heard [...]

  • David Nevins, Chief Creative Officer, CBS

    David Nevins: CBS-Viacom Merger to Create 'Virtuous Eco-System' for Content

    CBS and Viacom leaders are looking for opportunities to create a “virtuous eco-system” for content that can prosper across the various platforms of the two companies that are set to merge by year’s end. That was the sentiment shared by David Nevins, chief creative officer of CBS and chairman-CEO of Showtime Networks, during a Q&A [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content