• 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

Century-old fight for Budweiser name hits new snag

imageThey’ve been arguing about a name for 106 years. A small brewer in the Czech Republic and the world’s biggest beer maker have been suing each other over the right to put the word Budweiser on their bottles in what has become a David versus Goliath corporate saga.

A deal, it seems, will have to wait a bit longer because settlement talks between state-owned Budejovicky Budvar and Anheuser-Busch, a U.S. company now part of AB InBev, have collapsed, according to Budvar’s director general, Jiri Bocek.

The dispute is over exclusive rights — when only one of the companies is allowed to use the Budweiser name in any given country. As a larger company, AB InBev is particularly keen to expand its exports and market its beers under the Budweiser brand. But Budvar says that giving up its exclusive rights to the name would threaten to wipe out its own brand from the market.

Read more of the story here


Busch Entertainment Corp. is now SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

With the sale of Busch Entertainment Corp. to Blackstone Capital Partners V L.P., an investor fund advised by The Blackstone Group, comes a new name for the company that operates some of the nation’s best known and popular theme parks.

The business known as Busch Entertainment Corp. that ran 10 theme parks including Busch Gardens in Tampa and SeaWorld in Orlando, is no more. Today it was renamed SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment after the closing of its $2.7 billion sale by Anheuser Busch InBev to private-equity giant The Blackstone Group.

According to a press release, "the new name reflects the prominence of the SeaWorld brand in both the family travel industry and among the company’s portfolio of parks." Not to mention that it eliminates the Busch family name from the new theme park subsidiary parent name now that it has a new owner. Said Jim Atchison , who ran Busch Entertainment and now heads SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment:

"It is one of the world’s most widely recognized and respected family travel brands. SeaWorld has been a brand associated with quality family entertainment since SeaWorld San Diego opened its gates for the first time in March 1964."

Atchison acknowledged to the Orlando Sentinel that the Busch name had to go. "We realized that the name Busch Entertainment Corp. was not going to fit with us moving forward," he said. "It wasn’t really as much to disassociate from Busch as it was a desire to create a name that more fairly represented who we are." Here’s the press release announcing the name change, the Orlando Sentinel coverage as well as an extensive Q&A by the Orlando paper with Atchison this week.

And what of the Busch name at the theme parks?  The Busch Gardens theme parks in Tampa and Williamsburg, Va., will retain their names through a long-term licensing contract with AB InBev, which was negotiated as part of the sale to Blackstone.

5395 This post was 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, www.WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com  and   www.MrWilliamsburg.com, were created as a comprehensive resource about living in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads, with the hopes of selling a house now and again.  You can reach him at 757.254.8136 or John@MrWilliamsburg.com.

Christmastown at Busch Gardens Williamsburg VA

Christmas Town Busch GArdens I know Howl O Scream hasn’t ended but Christmas is around the corner. Busch Gardens in Williamsburg is celebrating this holiday season with Christmas Town: A Busch Gardens Celebration. Experience the park in a whole new light with all-new attractions, shows and one-of-a-kind gift ideas that will make everyone say, “Now this is Christmas.”
Stroll under more than a million twinkling lights while enjoying hot apple cider and fresh-baked Christmas cookies. A complete Christmas Town experience includes a visit to Santa’s workshop and to the parks’ 45-foot, light-animated Christmas tree.

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Anheuser Busch InBev sells breweries in Europe

Anheuser-Busch InBev  agreed to sell breweries in nine eastern European countries to CVC Capital Partners on Thursday for an initial $2.23 billion.

ab-inbev The sale is the third by the world’s largest brewer to a private equity company, after KKR’s purchase of South Korea’s Oriental Brewery and Blackstone LP’s  of its U.S. theme parks, made possible by improved capital and equity markets.

AB InBev and CVC said in a statement that the price tag could rise to $3.03 billion depending on CVC’s return on investment, while AB InBev has a first right of refusal  re-acquire the business should CVC decide to sell in the future.

AB InBev has now pushed past the $7 billion goal it had set for divestments to help pay for InBev’s $52 billion takeover of U.S. rival Anheuser-Busch completed last November.

The brewer of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s has now actually raised a potential $9.5 billion after sales of assets in South Korea, China, Scotland and Ireland as well as packaging and theme park businesses in the United States.

CVC will be acquire the operations of Anheuser-Busch InBev in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia.

Breaking News Busch Gardens has been sold !

Earlier todaybuschgardensBlackstone Capital Partners V L.P., an investor fund advised by The Blackstone Group, announced that it had reached agreement with Anheuser-Busch InBev to purchase the company’s entertainment park division, Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC) for $2.7 billion.
The Busch Entertainment Corporation is the second largest entertainment park operator in the United States with approximately 25 million annual visitors. BEC operates 10 Worlds of Discovery – SeaWorld Orlando, SeaWorld San Diego, SeaWorld San Antonio, Busch Gardens Tampa, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Discovery Cove, Aquatica, Sesame Place, Adventure Island and Water Country USA .

Click for A photo tour of Busch Gardens Williamsburg VA

Carlos Brito, Chief Executive Officer of Anheuser-Busch InBev, said: "Busch Entertainment Corporation is a high performing asset with a world-class  management team, but not a core business for Anheuser-Busch InBev. We are pleased to have reached an agreement with a buyer who understands the industry and has a strategic vision for the business."

Buschgardensva Joseph Baratta, senior managing director of Blackstone Group, said "We have deep sector experience and look forward to working with the excellent Busch Enterainment management team to continue to invest in and grow the company.”
Added Michael Chae, another senior managing director at Blackstone: "We are delighted to be investing in a company with such iconic brands, irreplaceable assets and strong growth prospects."
Closing of the sale is subject to regulatory clearance.

Busch Entertainment Corporation President  Jim Atchison indicated that the parks would be operating "business as usual." Atchison and the entire management team has been retained to run the new company, which will continue to go by the name Busch Entertainment Corp. (though he said that they might start using the alternate name "Worlds of Discovery" more going forward).

The Sesame Workshop and Anheuser-Busch brands are among those that will remain in the parks, he said. Busch beer brands will continue to be poured at the parks, and the Busch Gardens name will remain on the parks in Tampa, Fla. and Williamsburg, Va., as they were sold to Blackstone as part of the deal.

cydesdale at Busch GArden One of the more notable changes  will be that the iconic Clydesdale horses will be moved from the parks, and instead go on tour to promote their A-B brands. The  "Here’s to the Heroes" promotion offering free admission to military personnel will continue in the BEC parks for 2010.

No new rides or attractions were announced although it was confirmed that there are numerous  concepts and ideas that are in various stages of development.

Busch Gardens was opened in James City County in 1975. Water Country USA in upper York County was acquired in 1992.
Both York and James City county officials have described the parks as good community partners.
"Clearly they have a significant impact on the county," said York County Administrator James O. McReynolds.
Water Country employs about 700 part-time workers and is considered one of the top employers in the county, McReynolds said. Last fiscal year, the county received $202,000 in real estate and business personal property taxes, including the water park property and land adjacent to Busch Gardens used for parking.
In James City County, Busch Entertainment is second only to the Anheuser-Busch brewery as the county’s top property taxpayers. In the last two fiscal years, the theme park brought in $1.62 million and $1.63 million in property taxes.
The long-rumored sale had also caused angst among local government and tourism officials over whether the buyer would invest in the community as has Anheuser-Busch. The company contributed $2.25 million to the Jamestown 2007 event. It is also a major contributor to the region’s joint marketing program.

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.

Bud is Back !


Anheuser-Busch InBev said that starting yesterday, the "BUD" ticker symbol is trading again on the New York Stock Exchange.

The symbol left the exchange last year after Anheuser-Busch Inc. sold itself to Belgian brewer InBev for $52 billion.

The deal created Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, known for brands like Budweiser and Beck’s. The company has a plant and theme park ( Busch Gardens) in the Williamsburg, VA. area.

Its shares will maintain their primary listing in the company’s home country of Belgium. But CEO Carlos Brito said that growing interest from U.S. investors prompted the company to list itself in the U.S. as well.

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s American depositary receipts — shares sold by foreign companies — rose 70 cents to close at $46.95 in trading yesterday.

Brito said ABInBev is now 60 percent done with its efforts to sell $7 billion in noncore assets to help pay for the deal.

The company is in no rush to sell the rest just yet.

"We’re still committed to $7 billion, but the good news is we’re in no hurry to do it," he said, citing the company’s performance so far in 2009.

Last month, the Belgium-based company said its net profit in the first half of the year rose more than 50 percent to $1.92 billion.Global sales fell 1.1 percent.

When InBev bought Anheuser-Busch last year, the brewer said it wanted to make the flagship Budweiser brand into a global icon akin to Coca-Cola.

Since then, the company has been doing consumer research to determine how best to do that. Brito said there is strong brand awareness for Budweiser.

The company will continue to do research to figure out which markets make the most sense to enter. "We’re taking our time, we want to do it right, but we’re committed to do it," he said.