OSAKA (Kyodo) Shareholders of USJ Co., the debt-ridden, semipublic operator of the Universal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka, gave the go-ahead Thursday to the company’s revival plan, which includes 25 billion yen in new capital.
The plan, endorsed at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting, calls for issuing 25 billion yen in preferred shares — 20 billion yen to GS Capital Partners, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. unit, and 5 billion yen to the state-run Development Bank of Japan.
The rescue package also features a proposal to invite three people from the GS group and the DBJ as part-time directors.
Of the money raised through the new share issue, USJ will use 20 billion yen to reduce its interest-bearing debt and 5 billion yen for paying brand-usage fees to Universal Studios Inc. of the U.S.
If GS Capital converts all its preferred shares into common stock when USJ goes public, it will have a 46.5 percent stake, giving it management rights.
The Osaka Municipal Government is the theme park operator’s top shareholder, with a 25 percent stake. Universal Studios is next with a stake of 24 percent.
The preferred shares will be issued on condition that USJ pays back all 25 billion yen to the purchasers if it fails to go public by 2012.
The share issuance plan is “the last chance for the financially troubled city government to make USJ solvent,” a think tank analyst said.
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