Walt Disney Co. will delist its first and only outlet in Europe.
This ends a 27-year run as an independent company for the Paris theme park, which has struggled to match the popularity of its US counterparts and had to be bailed out by its parent at least three times.
Disney now holds more than 97% of the capital of Euro Disney S.C.A. after it started a public tender offer for the European unit last year, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. Disney raised its stake in February by buying 9% from Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Co. for 2 euros ($2.24) a share in stock, and offered other investors the same terms.
Under French stock market regulations, Disney can now force a mandatory buyout of the remaining shares it doesn’t own, and delist the company as of 19th June. Euronext Paris had suspended the trading of Euro Disney shares before the market opening. Chief executive officer Bob Iger is doubling down on the Paris resort as part of a deeper commitment by the parent company.
The Paris resort’s history includes several financing manoeuvres over the years. In 2012, Euro Disney consolidated debt from a number of banks into a loan from its parent. Prince Alwaleed bought a 10% stake in Euro Disney in a refinancing in 1994, two years after its opening. Disney said in February it will support Euro Disney’s recapitalisation of as much as 1.5b euros. That followed a 2014 rescue package, when the resort was pledged at least 1b euros over 10 years to add attractions and spruce up grounds.
Last year, Disney opened the $5.5 billion Disney Shanghai Resort, the largest foreign investment ever from the world’s biggest theme-park operator.