Make us your home page

Blackstone takes over, renames Busch Entertainment Corp.

Blackstone Group on Tuesday completed its $2.7 billion acquisition of Busch Gardens and nine other theme parks, giving its latest attractions industry venture a new name.

The former theme park unit of brewing giant Anheuser Busch InBev is now SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.

"We've been removing the last Busch corporate icons from the parks, but plan to keep the Busch Gardens name for a long time," said Jim Atchison, president of both the new company and the one that ran the parks for Busch. "We chose the SeaWorld name because it represents our flagship brand.

Through a sponsorship with InBev, Blackstone will keep the Busch Gardens name at parks in Tampa and Williamsburg, Va. The trademark Clydesdale teams, which remain the property of Anheuser Busch, will leave the parks early next year.

Headquartered in Orlando, the new entity is the second largest theme park operator in the world behind Walt Disney Co.

But it's only the latest addition to New York hedge fund Blackstone's ownership in the theme park industry. Blackstone owns the British Merlin Entertainments Group, which operates the London Eye Wheel, Madame Tussaud's, Legoland parks in the United States and theme parks in Europe. Blackstone also owns half of Universal Orlando, the second largest theme park combination in Orlando which is going through its own corporate changing of the guard.

General Electric's NBC Universal owns the other half of Universal Orlando, but GE wants out of the entertainment business. It is negotiating a price and terms for Comcast Corp., the nation's biggest cable TV service, to buy NBC Universal including its TV networks, Hollywood studios and theme parks.

To set the stage, GE agreed to buy French Vivendi SA's 20 percent interest in NBC Universal for $5.8 billion. That deal would allow GE to sell all of NBC Universal to Comcast over seven years for about $30 billion. The deal must be approved by regulators including the FCC.

Mark Albright can be reached at or (727) 893-8252.

Blackstone takes over, renames Busch Entertainment Corp. 12/01/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 10:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa


    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county


    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.