The owner of Legoland and Madame Tussauds waxworks is poised to buy some of America’s best-known visitor attractions including SeaWorld and the Busch Gardens parks in Florida, according to a report in The Times.
Private equity group Blackstone is finalising a deal to buy Busch Entertainment Corp, the second largest amusement park operators in the US.
Valued at between $2.5 billion and $3 billion, the Busch Entertainment takeover will add 10 US theme parks to Blackstone’s entertainment empire.
It also owns Merlin Entertainment Group, which alongside Madame Tussauds also controls Alton Towers and Chessington World of Adventures.
Separately, Blackstone controls UK holiday village operator Center Parcs and jointly owns Universal Studios Orlando with media and entertainment group NBC Universal.
If the deal goes ahead it will be one of the largest by a private equity firm this year, and could be announced as soon as next week.
But talks are continuing and may not result in a transaction.
Representatives for Anheuser and Blackstone declined to comment.