Universal Says Its Orlando Theme-Park Business Is Worth $10 Billion
Guests tour the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Florida. Scott Audette / Reuters
Universal has counter-programmed its Orlando play perfectly in recent years. But what will happen when its Marvel characters leave the park for Disney when the contract runs out?
So how much is Universal’s theme-park business worth after three years of growth powered by Harry Potter, King Kong and Optimus Prime? As much as $10 billion.
At least according to NBCUniversal President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Burke, who used the figure in a presentation last week to investment analysts at a conference in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Burke said the estimate is based on taking Universal Parks & Resorts’ annual operating cash flow — about $1 billion now — and applying the multiple at which SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. stock currently trades. “I think you’d value the business at something like $9 billion or $10 billion,” he said.
What’s even more remarkable: That amount is nearly 10 times what Comcast Corp. valued the unit at just four years ago when preparing its bid to buy NBCUniversal from General Electric Co. “When we did our original acquisition model, we valued the theme-parks business at about $1 billion,” Burke said.
In fairness, NBCUniversal owned only half of Universal Orlando, its most profitable resort, when Comcast took over. Still, Burke said, “We love the theme-park business.”
(c)2013 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.). Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at www.OrlandoSentinel.com. Distributed by MCT Information Services.