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Busch Gardens, Water Country USA to be sold

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      Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to sell its 10 theme parks, including Busch Gardens and Water Country USA in the Williamsburg area, to the Blackstone Group, a New York-based private equity firm.

      The sales price is $2.7 billion, including $2.3 billion in cash and the right to participate in the first $400 million that Blackstone makes on its initial investment.

      The fate of Anheuser-Busch’s Busch Entertainment Corp., which owns the theme parks, has been in doubt since the St. Louis-based company was bought by Belgium-based InBev last year. The theme parks attract about 25 million visitors a year.

      Busch Gardens opened in Virginia in 1975. Water Country followed in 1992. They employ more than 6,000 people during the summer.

      The deal does not include the Anheuser-Busch’s Kingsmill Resort & Spa, which is also for sale. Company officials announced last month that Anheuser-Busch would not renew its sponsorship of the Michelob Ultra LPGA golf tournament.


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