Jun 02, 2000

Blackstone Capital Partners Signs Agreement to Purchase 50% Stake in Universal Studios Escape

New York, NY, June 2, 2000 # Blackstone Capital Partners III (“Blackstone”) announced today that it has signed an agreement with The Rank Group Plc (“Rank”) to purchase Rank’s 50% interest in Universal Studios Escape (“USE”) for $275 million in cash. In addition, Rank could receive additional consideration subject to certain performance criteria being met.

Universal Studios Escape is a tourist attraction in Orlando, Florida, jointly owned with Seagram Company Ltd., consisting of two theme parks (Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure) and an entertainment center (Universal Studios CityWalk). The transaction does not include Rank’s interest in the three hotels adjacent to USE or its investment in Universal Studios Japan.

The purchase is conditioned upon obtaining consents from certain third parties and amendments to certain agreements with the lenders under USE’s syndicated debt facility.

Howard A. Lipson, a Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, said, “This is an exciting opportunity for us to invest in a world-class asset and to do so in partnership with Seagram, one of the leading entertainment companies in the world. We believe that the recent expansion of USE will drive meaningful long-term growth in its attendance, revenues, and profits.”

The Blackstone Group is a leader in private equity investing, and is currently in the process of investing Blackstone Capital Partners III, which represents approximately $4 billion of equity capital. Among its successful past transactions is the joint acquisition with Time Warner of Six Flags Theme Parks. In addition to private equity investing, The Blackstone Group is also engaged in five other business areas, including Mergers and Acquisitions Advisory, Restructuring and Reorganization Advisory, Private Equity Real Estate Investing, Private Mezzanine Investing, and Liquid Alternative Asset Management.