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The InBev/Busch Discussion Thread


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^ I don't think there's even a chance Six Flags or Cedar Fair will pick these parks up. Their debt load is too huge.

 

There is always PARC Management.

 

-Tatum

 

I haven't seen this mentioned before but there is also Village Roadshow from Australia. They already successfully operate the following parks on the Gold Coast, Australia:

1. Sea World http://seaworld.myfun.com.au/

2. Wet 'n' Wild - one of the best water parks in the world - http://wetnwild.myfun.com.au/

3. Warner Bros Movie World http://movieworld.myfun.com.au/

 

They have recently purchased a number of Water Parks here in the US, including one in Hawaii and another in Arizona. I believe they are on the acquisition hunt here in the US and Busch Gardens would be the perfect fit for them, assuming they could handle the debt that the acquisition would bring.

 

Incidentally ,they were hoping to start an African Safari World in Melbourne, Australia (based on the Busch Gardens Africa park model), however this fell through a few weeks ago. They have money to spend and are aggressively expanding.

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Just saw this in my local paper...

 

http://www.theledger.com/article/20080715/NEWS/29136208/1410&title=Theme_Parks_Not_Part_Of_InBev_s_Corporate_Structure

 

Theme Parks Not Part Of InBev's Corporate Structure

 

By MARK ALBRIGHT

ST. PETERSBURG TIMES

 

Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 7:16 a.m.

 

How much beer sells because of feel-good brewery investments like theme parks?

 

The question jumped to the front burner Monday once Anheuser-Busch Cos. agreed to be sold to Belgian beer giant InBev for $70 a share in cash.

 

The $52-billion sale creating what's called Anheuser-Busch InBev won't close until year's end. But InBev is scrutinizing the theme parks — including the three Sea Worlds and Busch Gardens in Tampa and Williamsburg, Va., plus the brewer's huge aluminum can recycling operation — as divestitures to help pay the 40 percent premium for America's last domestically owned brewing dynasty.

 

That's because this deal is all about the beer. Anheuser-Busch InBev was crafted to be market share leader in the world's five top beer-drinking countries.

 

"There is very little overlap between the two companies," said Carlos Brito, chief executive officer of the company that will emerge with 25 percent of the world beer market. "This makes us the global leader in beer and the third largest consumer products maker in the world" behind Procter & Gamble and Nestle.

 

InBev will juggle its stable of 200 beer brands including flagships Stella Artois, Bass, Leffe and Beck's with 150 brands and styles including top-selling Bud Light made by Anheuser-Busch.

 

Combined, the 10 Busch parks and the recycling business are worth about $5-billion, analysts say.

 

They always have been regarded as part of Busch's marketing to make beer appear more family friendly and the company socially responsible.

 

August Busch Jr., who kept a home in St. Pete Beach when his St. Louis Cardinals wintered in the bay area, opened Busch Gardens next to his new Tampa brewery in 1959. His successor and recently retired chairman, August Busch III, grandson of the company's co-founder, remained a theme parks fan by investing in them even after he closed the Tampa brewery and sold the Cards a decade ago. But 43-year-old August Busch IV, who will give up his role as chief executive to be one of 13 corporate directors in the new company, rarely visited the parks.

 

The parks are profitable, doing $162-million in net income in 2007 on revenues of $1.3-billion.

 

The new owners said Monday that they will not yet reduce a marketing budget that is the nation's biggest buyer of pro sports ad and marketing deals. Brito regards them as "pillars that support" the beer brands in the United States. The Clydesdales and Grant's Farm tourist attraction in St. Louis will stay.

 

But Brito offered no assurance to the parks, which must prove their worth to avoid being sold or spun off.

 

Because of the credit crunch and weak economy, analysts see few bidders. Earmarked in the $9.8-billion in new equity and $45-billion in added debt InBev lined up to pay for the acquisition is $7-billion in bridge financing for unidentified divestitures.

 

"Spinning the parks off on their own IPO with the current management may be the best option," said John Gerner, managing director of Leisure Business Advisors, a Richmond, Va., consultant. "They can license the Busch name if needed."

 

Cutting costs to bolster profit is key to making the acquisition work. It is the same force driving beer industry consolidation in all mature beer markets like the United States.

 

That's a specialty of the no-frills InBev culture, in contrast to Busch, which operates like a family fiefdom. Busch has a fleet of corporate jets. InBev executives fly coach unless flights are longer than six hours, when they use business class. Unlike Busch, there are no company car perks or freebies like the monthly free case of beer handed even to theme park full-timers.

 

A few years ago, InBev was criticized for forcing recalcitrant brewery workers to do pushups and perform silly dance steps, a motivational tactic since banned.

 

A Brazilian who holds a Stanford MBA, Brito will move ahead on Busch's own $1-billion profit improvement plan that includes higher prices for premium products like Bud Light Lime and early retirement for about 10 percent of the Busch work force. Plus, he has set a goal of $400-million more in reduced costs by 2011.

 

Mark Albright can be reached at albright@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8252

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There was an article in the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) discussing all that Busch has done for this part of Virginia (for example, training hospitality staff for the Jamestown 400 celebration and holding the LPGA Tournament at Kingsmill). ImBev isn't going to be "into" that stuff, but nobody really knows what the fallout (if any) will be from this deal. So, we're in a holding pattern in Williamsburg.

 

Not to mention the 6.1 Million dollars in taxes that A-B, Busch Gardens, and Kingsmill pays to James City County every year.

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^ Perhaps waiting to see if the merger even goes through would be wiser than getting your undies in a bunch.

 

Guys, were a long way off before any announcements on the parks comes. Chill out.

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^ Perhaps waiting to see if the merger even goes through would be wiser than getting your undies in a bunch.

 

Guys, were a long way off before any announcements on the parks comes. Chill out.

 

Thank you "voice of reason." Everyone is getting so hyper over nothing. I'm sure the company won't scrap the parks or anything like that. Likely they will be sold or spun off into their own entity. Why take 10 million in scrap value when you can have 100 million in revenue each year. Stop worrying, the parks will still be there, the quality might be a little different, but they will stay intact.

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Why take 10 million in scrap value when you can have 100 million in revenue each year.

 

Because you have no interest in spending the money to operate the parks at a level where they will continue to make 100 million in revenue each year.

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It's unfortunate that this had to happen, and that another American company got bought by a foreign one. I've never had a chance to visit a Busch park, and now I have a feeling that I won't be able to...

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I'm wondering if the parks did get sold, they will probably get de-Busched (like Paramount). Yay, I'm going to Gardens Europe.

 

I hope they don't hire whoever does the names for Cedar Fair.

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now I have a feeling that I won't be able to...

 

Seriously, this talk needs to stop. The merger hasn't even gone through, why is everyone all up in arms about never getting to these parks?

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^Agreed. Some posters are acting as though the wrecking ball was already in place and poised to strike. We have no idea what the long-term effects of this deal will be, but in the short-term, it should be status quo.

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I just saw THIS ARTICLE and then saw that SIX FLAGS STOCK dropped drastically once this news hit an hour ago.

 

excerpt:

But even if InBev decides to spin off the theme park divisions, it's not clear who would buy them. A troubled financial sector could make it hard to line up billions of dollars to finance the deal, and many big U.S. theme park operators are cutting costs amid rising fuel prices and a sluggish economy.

 

"I think if there were to be a buyer for the parks, it might come from overseas. There are some deep-pocketed players overseas," said Paul Ruben, North American editor for the Britain-based Park World Trade Magazine. He estimated Anheuser-Busch's entertainment division would fetch between $4 billion and $5 billion if sold.

 

 

Edit: Why would Six Flags stock lose almost half its value on this news? Granted it wasn't worth much to begin with but still, how does the Busch Parks potentially getting sold HURT them?

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now I have a feeling that I won't be able to...

 

Seriously, this talk needs to stop. The merger hasn't even gone through, why is everyone all up in arms about never getting to these parks?

 

I agree 100%. The idea that they're going to take nice, profitable amusement parks and scrap them is pretty insane. InBev isn't stupid.

 

The Busch park chain is among the best and most successful of all theme park operators. They ain't going anywhere.

 

I do think the merger is as good as done if they bring it through fast enough. The Bush Administration isn't big on blocking these things.

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