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Walt Disney Takes Another Costly Ride at French Theme Park

The Wall Street Journal
by Nick Kostov

California-based company to inject up to $1.6 billion to fund improvements and reduce debt

Walt Disney Co. on Friday tightened its grip on Euro Disney SCA and said it would support a cash injection of up to €1.5 billion ($1.6 billion) to fund improvements and reduce debt at the struggling French theme park.

The U.S. company said that Kingdom Holding, the investment firm owned by billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, had traded 90% of its shares in Euro Disney into Walt Disney stock. Walt Disney said it was buying the stake from Kingdom Holding at €2 a share, increasing its shareholding in Euro Disney to 85.7% from 76.7%.

Walt Disney, the company behind the "Star Wars" and "Frozen" franchises, said it then intends to make an offer for all remaining Euro Disney shares at the same price, a 67% premium to Euro Disney's closing share price on Feb. 9. If Disney secures at least a 95% stake following the offer, it plans to delist the company from Euronext Paris.

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