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Comcast to Buy Blackstone's Stake in Universal Orlando

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June 1, 2011 11:45 am
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Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) plans to purchase Blackstone Group’s (NYSE: BX) stake in Universal Orlando, sources familiar with the situation said Tuesday. Comcast is expected to pay between $1 billion and $1.5 billion for Blackstone’s half of the theme park.

In March, Blackstone offered to sell its Universal Orlando stake to Comcast in the wake of the cable company’s $13 billion acquisition of NBCUniversal from General Electric (NYSE: GE). In recent weeks, executives have hinted that they were inclined to accept Blackstone’s offer. Comcast has until June 12 to buy out Blackstone before it becomes free to solicit third-party bids for the entire resort.

Buying out Blackstone’s stake would give Comcast full control over NBCUniversal’s largest and most profitable theme park. Universal Orlando has experienced record crowds since opening the Wizarding World of Harry Potter last summer.

Comcast shares have pulled back from a recent 52-week high of $27.16 but are still up about 15% since the beginning of the year. Comcast was down more than 1.75% in Wednesday morning trading, while Blackstone was up more than 1% out of the gate before settling back down.

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