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Its official Busch Gardens Williamsburg is opening for Christmas Season 2009

John Womeldorf is Mr. Williamsburg, sharing his thoughts, real estate expertise, and “all things Williamsburg” in an effort to spread the word that Williamsburg, Virginia is the greatest place on earth to live!

busch gardens williamsburgBusch Gardens Europe in Williamsburg VA has invited the media to the park for a special announcement today. Most are speculating that they will announce that the park will open for Christmas as the Busch Gardens in Tampa does. No clue yet if they will attempt to do it this year or 2009.  Seems very late to attempt an opening in 2008 but who knows.

The website Theme Park Insider reported Tuesday that Busch will make a major announcement on Thursday, and speculating that the news is “probably the long rumored Christmas festival.” Busch has invited media to the park for an announcement it says will show the park “in a whole new light.”

In any case look for the Christmas operating season to be announced. I’ve heard that they plan major decorations of the park and some rides will be open (including Griffon) but not all

My guess is some type of Christmas Light show and Christmas Festival as well as an opportunity to purchase a  season pass that is valid for a year/2 years. I would assume the Christmas festival will last during the month of December until after Christmas thru Jan 1. The season passes could be bought as gifts for Christmas. 

Whoops, Busch Gardens slipped. Listed under the Job Responsibilities for the Theatrical Services Operations Supervisor on Busch’s talent search site was the following bullet:

installs/strikes, HOS and Christmas Events.

  http://www.talentsearchbgw.com/theatricalservicesopsup.html  They have since edited the site….

Will update as soon as I know any further. Although the whole world will know for sure after the announcement !

So here’s the update:  

From the official press release:

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (Dec. 4, 2008) – Officials today announced plans for an all-new holiday event coming to the Virginia theme park in 2009. “Christmas Town: A Busch Gardens Celebration” will create the anticipation of the season and fill visitors’ senses with all things Christmas. The park will transform into a winter wonderland filled with holiday traditions, new surprises and park favorites that make everyone say, “Now this is Christmas.”

 

For the first time in the park’s 34 year history, visitors will experience all-new attractions, shows and shopping that will fill them with holiday spirit. Guests can look forward to an immersive experience amid more than a million twinkling lights while they explore the best holiday traditions from around the world. Santa Claus will visit the park each evening to hear Christmas wishes from the young and young at heart.

 

“We’ll kick off a season-long celebration for family and friends to gather for Christmas fun,” said John Reilly, Busch Gardens’ general manager and executive vice president. “Featuring live entertainment, great food and unique shopping experiences all under the glow of a million Christmas lights, Christmas Town will add a unique holiday tradition to Virginia.”

 

Christmas Town opens at Busch Gardens on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 4 – 9 p.m. beginning Nov. 27, 2009. The park will open each evening Dec. 18-27, 2009, excluding Christmas Day. Some sections of the park will remain closed for the season. Some rides and attractions are weather dependent.

 

     

Christmas Town admission tickets will be available for $19.95 beginning January 2009. Guests with active one-year and two-year Busch Gardens’ passes save 50 percent on Christmas Town tickets as well as free parking and in-park discounts.

 

 

 PLANNED EXPERIENCES at Busch Gardens Williamsburg Christmas Town

 Each section of the park will be themed in Christmas décor native to each country or hamlet, and will feature all new attractions, shows and shopping that will immerse guests into the Christmas season. Think of it as a European Christmas with an American flair. Christmas Town will feature:(weather dependent) , Corkscrew Hill and Curse of DarKastle

Special holiday-themed dining opportunities

Unique shopping experiences

Evening Santa Claus visits

Children’s shows

Strolling carolers

Tree-lighting ceremonies

Select rides, including *Griffon 

 ADMISSION

General admission price for non-pass holders: $19.95

Platinum, 2-Park and 1-Park Pass member prices: $9:95 + free parking and in-park savings on food and merchandise

Tickets go on sale in January and can be purchased at the gate or online at 

www.christmastown.com

.OPERATING SCHEDULE

Open evenings 4-9 p.m.

 

  

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Anheuser Busch Execs reap almost $1 Billion in sale to Inbev

 

When Belgian brewer InBev completed its $52 billion purchase of Anheuser-Busch by paying $70 a share to stockholders there were quite a few executives who reaped huge rewards.

The takeover marked the end of the line for many senior Anheuser-Busch executives and all but one of its directors. But all walked away with big payouts for their company stock.

A group of 17 top executives received more than $1 billion for their shares, and the brewery’s 12 directors other than Chief Executive August Busch IV surrendered their posts Nov. 18 with a combined $23 million in hand.

Director and former chief executive August Busch III led the payday, collecting $427.3 million for his 1.3 percent stake in the company. About half of that amount comes from stock he controlled directly and through stock options, while the other half he controlled indirectly as the beneficiary of a couple of family trusts, through a charitable trust and through his wife, Virginia.

Busch III, 70, has been a member of the board since 1963 and served as chairman from 1977 until his retirement Nov. 30, 2006. He ran the business as CEO from 1975 to 2002 before handing the reins to Patrick Stokes.

Stokes, the company’s chairman, walked away with $160.9 million. About $10.7 million of that is controlled through a family limited partnership and a trust. Stokes, 65, spent his career with Anheuser-Busch and rose through the ranks to become the president and CEO of the company from 2002 until his retirement on Nov. 30, 2006. During Anheuser-Busch’s 156-year run as an independent company, Stokes was the only person outside the Busch family to hold the top post.

CEO August Busch IV collected nearly $91.4 million through the InBev buyout. The Fourth, as he is called, grew up in the beer business like his father, Busch III. He began working full time for the brewery after graduating from Saint Louis University in 1987. He held jobs in packaging, shipping and brewing and eventually earned his brewmaster’s degree from Versuchs und Lehranstalt für Brauerei, an international brewing academy in Berlin, Germany.

Busch IV, 43, made his mark as vice president of marketing during the late 1990s and early 2000s before rising to president of the brewery in 2002 and ultimately CEO of parent company Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. in December 2006.

Keith Kasen, chairman and CEO of theme park subsidiary Busch Entertainment Corp., made $16.2 million. He oversaw the subsidiary’s headquarters relocation to Orlando, Fla., earlier this year and ran the company’s nine SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Discovery Cove, Sesame Place, Adventure Island, Water Country USA and Aquatica theme parks.

Michael Harding, president and CEO of Anheuser-Busch Packaging Group Inc., reaped $13.4 million.

Francine Katz, vice president of communications and consumer affairs, received $12.5 million. She has worked at Anheuser-Busch for two decades, leads a staff of 80 in corporate and public relations, and serves as the company’s lead spokeswoman. She was named one of the Business Journal’s Most Influential Business Women this year.

 

 Mr Williamsburg.com " Williamsburg VA. Real Estate

 This update brought to you by Mr Williamsburg.com

John@MrWilliamsburg.com

InBev deal with Anheuser Busch has closed

Associated Press
© November 18, 2008

By AOIFE WHITE 

BRUSSELS, Belgium 

InBev SA on Tuesday formed the world’s largest brewer when it closed its $52 billion takeover of Anheuser-Busch Cos.

The new company, named Anheuser-Busch InBev, will be headed by InBev CEO Carlos Brito and will be headquartered at Leuven, Belgium.

InBev promises to keep Anheuser-Busch’s St. Louis base as the company’s North American headquarters. Anheuser-Busch President and CEO August A. Busch IV joins the new company’s board as a non-executive director.

The deal gives InBev a jewel of a brand in Budweiser – the world’s top selling beer – which it promises to sell more widely by pushing into emerging economies in Asia, Latin America and eastern Europe.

This will help generate growth as beer sales decline in North America and Europe where drinkers are cutting back and turning to wine and other drinks.

Brito said the combination had created “a stronger, more competitive global company with a leading international brand portfolio and distribution network, and great potential for growth all over the world.”

InBev said it now had all the regulatory clearances it needed for the deal. Last week it agreed to sell Labatts USA to win U.S. Department of Justice approval for the takeover.

U.S. antitrust officials had worried that beer prices would increase in upstate New York because the two companies would supply most of the beer in the region.

InBev did not say who would buy the U.S. unit. It will keep its Canadian subsidiary Labatts, which is one of the top beer brands in the country.

Anheuser-Busch provides half of America’s beer but it has not managed to expand around the world as fast as InBev – a Belgian-Brazilian hybrid that owns hundreds of local brands but few real stars.

Anheuser-Busch owns several properties in Virginia in the Williamsburg area. In addition to a brewery in Williamsburg, the company’s subsidiaries own the Busch Gardens theme park, the Kingsmill Resort and Spa, and the Water Country USA water park.

InBev has borrowed $45 billion to pay for the deal and secured $9.8 billion in equity bridge financing that it had planned to replace with a share issue in October.

But rocky financial markets forced it to postpone issuing new shares and it says it can keep the bridge financing in place for up to six months after it closes the deal.

Carlos Brito, Chief Executive of the newly combined global brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, talks about the completion of the deal, the significance of today’s announcement and next steps.

Mr Brito also underscores the rationale of deal in spite of today’s current economic climate and highlights the new company’s strategic and brand priorities to secure its ambition of becoming “the best beer company in a better world”.
 
Talking frankly of the challenges to come, he said the business would have to work harder but added that its beer business was lean and resilient and that it had the talent and skills base to see them through tough times.
 
He said that the company and its board were working hard on both possible asset sales and its prospective rights issue.
“The equity issuance is something that the Board will decide on the best time to do it; we have a bridge of six months after closing to get it done. And for the disposals of $7bn we have a bridge of up to 12 months after closing.”
The interview and transcript are available now on http://w3.cantos.com/inbev.

Inbev Anheuser Busch Deal Approved BY DOJ

By Rusty Carter VA Gazette

The Department of Justice gave its blessing Friday to the union of InBev and Anheuser-Busch, with one prenuptial condition: InBev must sell Labatt USA.

The caveat was made in a civil antitrust lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington aimed at blocking the original InBev-Busch deal. At the same time, the Justice Department filed a proposed settlement that would resolve the suit and other concerns about fair competition.

Here’s why divesture was important, according to PR Newswire. Budweiser and Labatt are the two biggest-selling beer brands in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, so allowing InBev to keep Labatt would have eliminated competition between Labatt USA and Anheuser-Busch. The Justice Department feared the result would be higher beer prices in all three markets.

“This divestiture will ensure that consumers will continue to benefit from the significant competition between the merging companies in upstate New York,” said Deborah A. Garza, deputy assistant attorney general of the Antitrust Division, in a statement.

In most U.S. markets, InBev beers account for less than 2% of sales and are largely non-competitive with Busch, which nearly dominates 50% of beer sales nationwide. The upstate New York markets are close to the Canadian border, and half of Labatt’s U.S. sales take place in Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester.

InBev’s ancestor, Interbrew, used its 1995 purchase of Labatt as an inroad into the North American beer market, paying $2 billion for the company. Interbrew’s first attempt at a North American presence came in 1989 when it tried to acquire Stroh’s. Coors beat Interbrew to the deal, and during the next five years Interbrew bought up small brewers in several companies before landing Labatt.

Friday’s announcement came 48 hours after Anheuser-Busch shareholders voted in favor of InBev’s buyout offer. The deal is anticipated to close by year-end, assuming InBev gets the remaining regulatory approvals and comes up with $52 billion Shareholders expect to fare well, since InBev is offering $70 a share. Busch stock opened at $68 a share Friday and shot up to $69.26 before dropping to $68.50 by the close. 

 

Although InBev has pledged to keep all 12 of Busch’s North American breweries open, it plans to sell non-core assets, chiefly Busch Entertainment, perhaps before the deal closes.

There’s been no word on potential buyers, although London-based Blackstone Group, Dubai World, and Spain’s Parques Reunidos are considered likely suitors

 

Anheuser Busch Shareholders approve Inbev purchase.

By LAUREN SHEPHERD and EMILY FREDRIX 

Shareholders of Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. approved the $52 billion sale of the business to Belgium-based InBev SA on Wednesday, a deal that is set to create the world’s largest brewer.

The vote was the latest step necessary to form the company that will be known as Anheuser-Busch InBev and combine brands such as Bud Light and Budweiser with Stella Artois and Beck’s. The deal, reached in July, is expected to close by the end of the year. It is subject to regulatory approval in the U.S., Britain and China.

August A. Busch IV, Anheuser-Busch’s president and chief executive, said the decision to sell the nation’s largest brewer was a difficult one.

“Every alternative was considered,” he told shareholders at the meeting just outside of New York. “In the end, we all agreed the InBev proposal was in the best interest of you, the shareholders.”

The new company brings about the end of the more than 150 years of family rule of the St. Louis-based company, though the newly combined company’s North American headquarters will stay there. InBev has said it will keep open all 12 of Anheuser-Busch’s North American breweries.

Busch will move into a non-executive role, but will be on the new company’s board. He said he was excited about the future of the new company, especially expanding the brands worldwide, which he said helps in “fulfilling the global ambition of my family.”

Anheuser-Busch agreed this summer to accept the buyout from InBev worth $70 a share. The deal ended back-and-forth wrangling between the two sides, with Anheuser-Busch spurning InBev’s unsolicited offers at first, claiming they were bad for business and were an “illegal scheme” that threatened to defraud shareholders.

InBev shareholders approved the deal in September.

The sale price is a premium to Anheuser-Busch shareholders over the company’s current stock price. On Wednesday, its shares fell 51 cents to close at $66.33. InBev said last week it will not reduce or change its $70-a-share offer, even though Anheuser-Busch’s share price has dropped amid larger market turmoil.

The deal gives InBev a key inroad to the U.S. market, where Anheuser-Busch dominates with about a 50 percent share. InBev, meanwhile, has a small fraction. It also gives the company about one-fifth of the markets in China and Russia, two areas poised for growth.

InBev has said it wants to tap into Anheuser-Busch’s marketing power and make its top-selling Budweiser and Bud Light brands into global powerhouses like Coca-Cola or Pepsi.

Leadership for the new company has already been decided, pulling from executives within both companies. Luiz Fernando Edmond will lead North American operations, leaving his post as InBev’s president of Latin America North.

David A. Peacock, an Anheuser-Busch vice president, will become Anheuser-Busch president and oversee U.S. operations and management of the Budweiser and Bud Light brands.

In St. Louis and Williamsburg, VA, where the company and its heritage play a big role in the community, some residents were sad about the vote, even though they knew it had been coming. “I think people are having a hard time with it, because now it’s finalized,” said O’Brien, who works in the city and lives in the suburb of Florissant. “It’s like the grieving process, something we have to go through. There are certain things you’re proud of in your city – the Arch, the brewery, Busch Stadium. It seems to be a loss.”

Will Busch Family buy Busch Gardens Williamsburg VA ?

Notes from a variety of sources:

A good argument for the Busch family buying and spinning off the BEC parks as a solo company has been brought to my attention. I don’t know just how true these facts are however, but from what I was told, the Busch family holds about 5% of the company’s stock, which after the $70 a share InBev offer, will net them just over $2 billion in cash. If there was any doubt, clearly they do have the financial backing to buy the parks if they wanted to.

Some of Britain’s biggest visitor attractions, including Alton Towers and the London Dungeon, are being lined up for a possible merger with the owner of Florida’s Sea World, paving the way for a stock market flotation that could see the combined group head straight into the FTSE100.

Blackstone, the American investment firm, which is a major shareholder in Merlin Entertainments Group, is positioning itself for a tilt at the theme parks unit of Anheuser-Busch, the brewing giant which is in the process of being acquired by the Brazilian company InBev.

InBev plans to dispose of the theme parks business, which is called Busch Entertainment Corporation and owns nine attractions across the US. Earlier this year, Anheuser struck a deal to open attractions in Dubai. The division is assessed by analysts as being worth between $2.5bn and $4.5bn.

 

Blackstone, which co-owns Merlin alongside Dubai International Capital, is also an investor in Universal Orlando, another of the US’s largest theme parks operators. People close to Blackstone say that if it succeeds with an offer for the Anheuser-Busch parks, it could merge them with either Merlin or Universal, in which NBC Universal, the US media company, is a partner.

  • Although the market for initial public offerings is likely to remain subdued for some time, the long-term appetite among institutional and public investors to participate in such a flotation is likely to be significant.

    Merlin, which also owns Thorpe Park, Legoland and Warwick Castle, already makes sizeable profits, earning more than £200m before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in its last-reported financial year.

    The company had already been earmarked for a stock market listing in London when the economic environment improves.

    Among other operators of attractions, Cirque du Soleil, the touring circus, has also been approached about a potential sale in recent months.

    As the sad news about the Anheuser-Busch selling out to InBev has had time to settle in, the rumors and speculation about who may actually buy the Busch Entertainment theme parks has taken an interesting turn. Some have asked me what I thought about some of the other industry players buying the chain, such as Herschend Family Entertainment, Hersheypark, Village Roadshow or even a non-park attraction player like Ripley’s.
    Hersheypark is too small in my opinion to take on the Busch chain, though they do have experience with creating a good family fun atmosphere as well as dealing with animals. Herschend would be an interesting fit as well I think, though once again I just think that right now they are too small to take on the kind of debt load that buying BEC would bring down upon them. They also don’t have any solid background experience with exotic animal parks to my knowledge, but if the Busch parks were ever to be broken up and sold individually I could see Herschend or Hersheypark stepping in to pick up a park or two.
    Village Roadshow is an average possibility right now, as they own most of the major theme parks in Australia right now and have been going on a buying spree picking up several smaller attractions in the last few months. It’s also worth noting that they also own Sea World Australia… and I’m sure they wouldn’t mind making this copycat park a real true “SeaWorld” branded park after all these years. The big problem here is that I’m just not sure Village Roadshow can come up with cash to buy the entire BEC chain.
    Ripley’s in the interesting X-Factor here as well, since they do have experience with sea life through their numerous Ripley’s Aquariums across the country and being able to bring in the SeaWorld brand name and expertise would certainly help. However Ripley’s mainstay is small attractions and not full sized theme parks, so this would be a very major departure from their comfort zone, and not something that I think they would pursue.

  • That said… I do have a very good rumor about who may really be set to take on the Busch parks. This rumor has leaked in from half a dozen sources with connections to Busch locations all around the country and actually would make the perfect fit. After all, who would be a better owner for the Busch Entertainment theme parks than the Busch family themselves.
  • Yes, you read that right. According to numerous sources the Busch family may have a silent agreement with InBev to buy the Busch parks. This makes sense since it’s well known that the Busch family has a very strong attachment to their theme parks, which have now separated themselves from the St. Louis HQ to have their own offices in Orlando. By coincidence, August Busch III also has a large second home not too far from Orlando as well. What isn’t known is if the Busch family will take on this plan alone or if they will try to seek out some investment partners. Either way, I’m hoping this rumor turns out to be true