Blackstone, the all powerful equity group, sits high in the rankings for powerful companies. They are the godfather of all equity groups. The company owns Merlin Entertainment, the organization that runs theme parks, Legoland and London Eye. Blackstone is also co-owner of Universal Studios and has stakes in Six Flags amusement parks and the Harrah’s casino chain. Run by Wall Street billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone sees great promise in investing in leading media and entertainment industries. So naturally, an already established and well-respected company like Anheuser-Busch InBev with its countless properties would seem like a promising investment with an even more promising payback. So, that’s just what they did. Schwarzman and the Blackstone team recently purchased ten of Anheuser Busch InBev’s theme parks. One of the ten is Sea World, the famous marine park that has properties in both California and Florida. Blackstone purchased the park alone for $ 2.72 billion. Some of the other parks include two Busch Gardens amusement parks, Discovery Cove, and Adventure Island.
The purchase of these parks is helping Blackstone climb high enough up the investing ladder to take the title of one of the world’s top amusement destination investors. They’re paying $2.3 billion in cash for the deal. The mega purchase is also lending a helping hand to InBev. The Belgian company accumulated $45 billion in debt in the process of funding the prior takeover of Anheuser Busch. This transaction between the two organizations marks the largest private equity buyout of 2009. No one should really be surprised by this though because Blackstone has always had a resume full of achievements and impressive titles. This recent one is just one more to add to the list.