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Disney Plans To Take Euro Disney Private Following Deal To Buy Saudi Stake

Deadline logo Deadline 2/10/2017 David Lieberman
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Shares in Euro Disney, which trades in Paris, rocketed 65.8% today after Disney announced plans to buy the interests it doesn’t already own — plus an agreement to pick up a 9% stake held by Kingdom Holding, the investment firm run by Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal.

The stock deal, paying €2.00 per share, ups Disney’s stake in Euro Disney to 85.7%. And Disney says it will offer the same price in cash for “all remaining outstanding shares of Euro Disney.”

The proposal represents a 67% premium over the company’s trading price yesterday.

The entertainment giant adds that it will support a €1.5 billion recapitalization for Euro Disney so it can “continue implementation of improvements to Disneyland Paris, reduce debt and increase liquidity.”

The park’s finances, it says, were “significantly and negatively impacted” by the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris as well as “the challenging business conditions that continued through 2016 in France and throughout Europe.”

Disney’s plan “affords maximum flexibility to shareholders, addresses the Group’s financial needs and reflects its ongoing support for the long-term success of Disneyland Paris,” the company says.

Euro Disney’s board is examining the proposal, and has asked its Audit Committee to recommend an independent expert who can determine whether it’s fair to the company’s shareholders.

Disney hopes to wrap the Kingdom Holding deal on February 15. The Saudi company’s stake in Euro Disney will drop from 10% to 1%. It will receive stock in Disney —  valued at its closing price, and the currency exchange rate, on February 14.

Disney “easily has the balance sheet capacity” for the deals, Wells Fargo Securities’ Marci Ryvicker says. But the effort “is a bit risky due to persistent challenges at Euro Disney. The Euro Disney stock has struggled for years due to underwhelming attendance.”

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