Osaka has announced that it will sell its 9% stake in USJ Co Ltd, the firm that operates Universal Studios Japan (USJ), to majority shareholder Goldman Sachs.
The city will sell its 200,000 shares at a price of $500 (Y50,000) per share, generating $100m (Y10b) in revenue that will be used toward bailout money for the ailing Osaka World Trade Center.
The sale follows Goldman Sach’s $1.12b (Y112.2b) takeover bid for USJ in March. The bid was made through Goldman Sachs Group wholly-owned subsidiary Crane Holdings and investment partners MBK Partners and Owl Creek Asset Management.
Goldman Sachs previously invested $20bn in USJ in 2005 for a 40% ownership. The completion of the takeover will see Crane own 61.2%, MBK 23.6%, Owl Creek 15.1% and USJ CEO Glenn Gumpel retaining a 0.1% stake.
With USJ a privatised company, Goldman Sachs plans to introduce new characters and attractions to increase operating profits in collaboration with Gumpel.
USJ opened in March 2001 as the studio’s third park in addition to Hollywood and Orlando, and the first in Asia. USJ features attractions based on Spider-Man, Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, Jaws, Back To The Future and The Wizard Of Oz.
The global financial crisis and the Japanese economic slowdown saw admissions decrease by 5.8% to 8.1m in 2008 compared to the previous year.
Universal theme parks in Singapore and Dubai are currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2010 and 2012 respectively. An additional park in South Korea is also in the planning stages.