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Comcast NBCU to Buy 51% of Universal Studios Japan

Comcast NBCUniversal said that it agreed to purchase 51% of Universal Studios Japan for $1.5 billion.

The current owners—including Goldman Sachs, Universal Studios Japan CEO Glenn Gumpel, MBK Partners and Owl Creek Asset Management—will retain a minority stake. Universal Studios Japan currently operates as an independent company under license from NBCU.

The purchase will enable Comcast NBCU and its Universal Parks and Resorts division to build a stronger, more direct presence in Japan and grow and evolve the theme park, Comcast said.

The park has been growing in attendance and revenue and features classic Universal attractions as well as some specifically designed for Japan.

Gumpel, CEO of Universal Studios Japan since 2004, announced his retirement. He is succeeded by Jean-Louis Bonnier who has been CFO for Universal Parks and Resorts since 2005.

“We are excited to expand our global footprint with this wonderful theme park in Osaka and are excited by the opportunities that lie ahead in Japan and all of Asia,” said Brian L. Roberts, chairman & CEO of Comcast. “This investment represents a huge opportunity and commitment to creating value for our shareholders and continuing to grow internationally.”

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.