Comcast to buy the remaining 49% in Universal Studios Japan for $2.27 bn

Comcast Corp, the largest cable operator in the US, yesterday said that it would buy the remaining 49 per cent it does not already own in Japanese theme park operator Universal Studios Japan (USJ) for 254.8 billion yen ($2.27 billion)

Comcast's NBCUniversal unit is buying the 49 per cent from Goldman Sachs Group, Seoul-based private equity firm MBK Partners and US hedge fund Owl Creek Asset Management.

The Pennsylvania-based cable giant had acquired a 51-per cent controlling stake in USJ in 2015 for $1.5 billion. (See: Comcast to buy 51% of Universal Studios Japan for $1.5 bn)

Opened in 2001, USJ is one of four Universal Studios theme parks owned and operated by USJ Co with a license from NBCUniversal.

The park is similar to the Universal Orlando Resort and most of its visitors from its home country as well as tourists from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea.

The acquisition of Universal Studios Japan is part of Comcast NBCUniversal plan to expand in the theme park industry in Asia.

The company has been aggressively investing in major attractions that feature world-class intellectual properties for years, and is currently building a theme park in Beijing and licenses one in Singapore.

Comcast said that the acquisition will more closely align USJ with NBCUniversal's ongoing investment strategy for its theme parks.

''Universal Studios Japan is an amazing and incredibly successful theme park,'' said Tom Williams, chairman and CEO for Universal Parks & Resorts. ''This acquisition will bring an even stronger future for the theme park, its guests and its team members.''