Comcast focuses on theme parks with purchase of Universal Studios Japan for $1.5bn

Joe Hall
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Universal Studios Japan's new Harry Potter attraction has conjured an increase in visitors (Source: Getty)

US media conglomerate Comcast is spending $1.5bn (£999m) for control of the Universal Studios theme park in Osaka, Japan as it looks to expand its attractions business around the world.

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In what the company said was its largest ever international investment, Comcast will purchase 51 per cent of the Universal Studios Japan holding company from Goldman Sachs, South Korean private equity firm MBK and other owners.

Comcast, whose Harry Potter and Universal Studios theme parks have become a source of growth, is switching focus after its proposed $45.2bn takeover of Time Warner was rejected by regulators.

Brian L. Roberts, chairman and chief executive of Comcast, commented:

We are excited to expand out global footprint with this wonderful theme park in Osaka and are excited by the opportunities that lie ahead in Japan and all of Asia.

This investment represents a huge opportunity and commitment to creating value for our shareholders and continuing to grow internationally.

Universal Studios Japan's visitors rose by 2.1m to 12.7m in the latest financial year, largely thanks to a new "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" attraction.

Comcast's move to Asia follows similar shifts from theme park rivals Six Flags Entertainment and Walt Disney who both have plans to open attractions in China.

The group's share price fell three per cent to just under $55 on the Nasdaq yesterday.

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