Private-equity giant The Blackstone Group
is looking to unload its stake in Universal Orlando
, triggering a chain of events that could ultimately put the entire resort — which is in the midst of its most impressive financial run ever — on the auction block.
Blackstone has offered to sell its half of the resort to fellow co-owner NBCUniversal
, the media-and-entertainment conglomerate that was acquired in January by Comcast Corp.
NBCUniversal now has three months — until June 12 — to accept the offer and buy out the private-equity firm. If NBCUniversal turns Blackstone down, it will trigger a provision allowing Blackstone to seek out an outside bidder to buy the entire resort.
A sale could have huge implications for Universal Orlando. Some of the resort's most important licensing contracts — including its agreement with Warner Bros.
for the rights to Harry Potter
— include provisions in which Universal could lose those rights if it is acquired by a new owne