U.S. cable giant Comcast has agreed a $13.75 billion takeover of NBC Universal, which will give it control of the Universal theme park chain.
Comcast will acquire 51% of the company from current owner General Electric, creating a huge media conglomerate including cable networks, broadcast networks, the Universal movie studio as well as theme parks including Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure .
The long-rumored deal is still subject to scrutiny from regulators, which could drag on for many months. There is the possibility that Comcast may be forced to dispose of some of the combined company's assets in order to overcome competition concerns.
Although the deal includes full control of Universal Studios Hollywood, NBC Universal only owns 50% of Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure. The other 50% is owned by the Blackstone Group - the same company that recently completed a deal to buy the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens chains.
It is not yet clear how the new ownership model will affect Universal's theme parks, or how the parks fit into Comcast's strategy for the new company. Existing plans, including the addition of Transformers: The Ride to Universal Studios Hollywood and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Islands of Adventure are unlikely to be affected.