ORLANDO -- Business is expected to continue as usual after
London-based Rank Group announced it sold its 50% stake in
Universal Studios Escape's two theme parks and the related CityWalk
district here to New York-based Blackstone Capital Partners for
$275 million in cash.
Rank's investments in Universal's three Florida hotels and in
Universal Studios Japan are unchanged.
The sale is expected to have little impact on operations at the
two theme parks -- Universal Studios Florida and Universal's
Islands of Adventure -- because co-owner Seagram Co. remains the
managing partner, Universal officials said.
The deal gives privately owned Blackstone Capital 50% of the two
Universal Studios Escape theme parks as well as CityWalk, the
dining and entertainment district located between the two
Blackstone Capital's parent, Blackstone Group, is a
leveraged-buyout firm with a wide range of investments, including a
15% stake in Host Marriott.
The firm in 1991 joined with another investor to buy half of the
Six Flags amusement park chain. Blackstone sold its stake to Time
Warner in 1993.