Belgian brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev announced that it will sell its theme parks business to private-equity firm Blackstone Group for up to $2.7 billion.
The infusion of cash will help AB InBev pay down the $45 billion in debt it took on to buy Anheuser Busch last year.
It has been known that AB InBev wanted to sell the theme parks, which were owned by Anheuser, but the collapse of credit markets made it difficult to pull off such deals. The fact that AB InBev was able to seal the deal indicates a growing ability to obtain financing to support mega-corporate transactions.
AB InBev will receive $2.3 billion in cash and the right to participate in the first $400 million of Blackstone’s return on investment. The subsidiary, Busch Entertainment Corporation, operates 10 entertainment parks in the U.S., including three SeaWorld parks.
AB InBev executives had indicated that they planned to sell at least $7 billion in assets following the Anheuser deal, and Busch Entertainment was seen as a logical candidate for sale because AB InBev wants to focus on selling beer.