Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Universal SeaWorld?


It just may be.  The Orlando Sentinal is reporting that GE (parent company of Universal Studios) has been sniffing around Busch Entertainment Group.  Ever since Anheuser-Busch was bought last year by the Belgian beer company 'InBev', they have been looking for potential buyers of it's Busch Entertainment Group which runs their theme parks (SeaWorld, Busch Gardens).  InBev only wants the beer brand, they don't want to also be in the theme park business.  Since then there have been rumors as to who may make a bid, including Disney.  Then GE's annual shareholders meeting took place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.  This is where Jeff Immelt (Chairman and CEO of General Electric Co.) told the Orlando Sentinal:

"My understanding is that's [a Busch Entertainment sale] been slowed down a little bit, so I can't really speak to it. But look, we're in the business, and we're always looking for opportunities to make the business better."

This would definitely be an interesting mix.  While Universal Theme Parks are currently stretching their brand in other countries, there hasn't been too much of an opportunity to stretch it to other states.  This would give them a leg up on their main competition..Disney.  How so? Well, barring any type of weird global disaster that only targets theme parks led by a giant mouse, Disney will always rule Anaheim and Orlando.  But if Universal were to take over SeaWorld, this now get's them into Texas.  Yes Virginia, there is a SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas.  So for families that can't afford a trip all the way out to either coast, this now can become a viable option for them to not go so far and (assuming that new hotels and attractions will be brought in) to experience some Hollywood magic closer to home.  Perhaps a 'Larry the Cable Guy' ride?  A 'Behind the Shamu Tour'?  Hmmmm.... would you believe 'Shrek - 4-Deep'?

Take the jump to the Orlando Sentinal for the full story.  

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