Comcast NBCUniversal said that it agreed to purchase 51% of Universal Studios Japan for $1.5 billion.
The current owners--including Goldman Sachs, Universal Studios Japan CEO Glenn Gumpel, MBK Partners and Owl Creek Asset Management--will retain a minority stake. Universal Studios Japan currently operates as an independent company under license from NBCU.
The purchase will enable Comcast NBCU and its Universal Parks and Resorts division to build a stronger , more direct presence in Japan and grow and evolve the theme park, Comcast said
. The park has been growing in attendance and revenue and features classic Universal attractions as well as some specifically designed for Japan.
Gumpel, CEO of Universal Studios Japan since 2004, announced his retirement. He is succeeded by Jean-Louis Bonnier who has been CFO for Universal Parks and Resorts since 2005.
“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 & CEO of Comcast. “This investment represents a huge opportunity and commitment to creating value for our shareholders and continuing to grow internationally.”