• psst … I’m a Realtor! Thanks for stopping by my website. I would love to help you find your dream home and community in the Hampton Roads or Williamsburg area or to sell your existing home. This website is authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market. His websites, WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com and Mr Williamsburg.com were created as a resource for folks who are exploring a move to Williamsburg, VA , Hampton Roads VA and the surrounding areas of the Virginia Peninsula. On his website you can search homes for sale , foreclosures, 55+ active adult communities, condos and town homes , land and commercial property for sale in Williamsburg, Yorktown, New Kent, Poquoson, and Gloucester, VA as well as surrounding markets of Carrolton, Chesapeake,Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth Mathews, Newport News Norfolk, Poquoson, Smithfield, , Suffolk, Surry, Va Beach, Yorktown and York County Virginia You can reach John by email John@MrWilliamsburg.com or phone @ 757-254-813

Is Busch Gardens close to being sold ?

9/23/2009- 6:18am

Once again there is talk of a possible deal betweenBuschgardensva Blackstone Group LP (BX) and InBev to purchase Busch Entertainment  theme parks, including Busch Gardens and Water Country USA in Williamsburg, Dow Jones Newswires reported Wednesday.

A spokesman for New York-based Blackstone said any comment would be premature. A spokesman for Anheuser-Busch InBev declined to comment.

Dow Jones, citing unnamed sources, reported that Blackstone was thinking about buying the theme parks, including three SeaWorld venues and two Busch Gardens parks, operated under Busch Entertainment Corp.

The Web sites of Busch Gardens and Water Country USA do not list the size of their work forces. But together they ranked as the fourth-largest employer in the region, with about 5,000 employees, in 2006, according to a study by Old Dominion University economist James Koch. They were surpassed only by Northrop Grumman, Sentara Healthcare and Riverside Health System.

Water Country USA alone is the second-largest employer in James City County, behind the Williamsburg-James City County school system, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.

Anheuser-Busch InBev has made no secret of wanting to shed some of its assets since its $52 billion deal last year, when Belgium-based InBev purchased Anheuser-Busch, which makes Budweiser and Beck’s beers. The deal made the combined company the world’s largest brewer.

InBev said then that it would fund the purchase in part by selling $7 billion in non-core assets. It said it would not sell any of Anheuser-Busch’s breweries, including the one in Williamsburg.

CEO Carlos Brito said last week that the company was in no rush to sell assets but would not comment on the timing or potential targets.

Busch Entertainment Co.’s theme parks include:

  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (Tampa, Fla.)
  • Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Williamsburg, Va.)
  • SeaWorld Orlando (Orlando, Fla.)
  • SeaWorld San Antonio (San Antonio)
  • SeaWorld San Diego (San Diego)
  • Discovery Cove (Orlando, Fla.)
  • Aquatica (Orlando, Fla.)
  • Adventure Island (Tampa, Fla.)
  • Water Country USA (Williamsburg, Va.)
  • Sesame Place (Langhorne, Pa.)

Additionally, Blackstone’s Merlin Entertainments Group has stakes in Six Flags Inc., Legoland theme parks and Madame Tussauds.

Last year, Blackstone, with NBC Universal and Bain Capital, purchased The Weather Channel Cos. from Landmark Communications Inc. of Norfolk. Landmark, which has since been renamed Landmark Media Enterprises LLC, owns The Virginian-Pilot. People familiar with the Weather Channel transaction said it totaled about $3.5 billion.

Any deal would allow InBev to pay down the debt incurred from its $52 billion acquisition of Anheuser-Busch. The deal would also expand Blackstone’s global theme-park holdings, which already include stakes in Universal Orlando and Madame Tussauds wax museum.

The acquisition of Anheuser-Busch’s theme-park holdings would fold nicely into Blackstone’s London-based Merlin Entertainments Group. There has been talk that Blackstone intends to list the theme-park operator on the London Stock Exchange sometime this year.

An initial public offering for Merlin, which operates Legoland theme parks, could be made more enticing with the addition of Busch Entertainment. Analysts have estimated a Busch sale could fetch between $2 billion and $5 billion.

In addition to Merlin, Blackstone owns 50% of Universal Orlando alongside NBC Universal.

No deal was expected imminently.

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