Who Owns Universal Studios? | History & Fun Facts

Universal Studios fans might be surprised to find that unlike Disney, Universal isn't owned by a company that holds its namesake. 

The theme parks and movie studios actually have a long history of different owners especially in recent history where the company has changed ownership multiple times.

Universal Pictures - Wikipedia

Below we'll detail a history of Universal Studios' various owners as well as who owns the company today and any potential future sales that might be in the works!

Previous Owners of Universal Studios

Universal Studios has had quite a few owners since the mid-1900's. 

Various larger companies have decided to expand in entertainment and theme parks by purchasing the assets held under the Universal Studios which have included Universal Pictures, Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood.

During a majority of this period only Universal Pictures and Universal Studios Hollywood existed with Universal Studios Florida not coming onto the scene until 1990 under the ownership of Matushia Electric. 

Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal International and Decca Records (1945): In 1945 Universal combined forces with four other companies in a mega merger deal to expand their presence further in the entertainment industry that resulted in Universal International being created. 

The other entities were International Pictures and entertainment media producer Kenneth Young. 

Music Corporation of America (1962): Nearly twenty years later Universal would change hands again when it was acquired by talent agency MCA.

At the time Universal was faltering as a business, but the takeover by MCA resulted in a massive revitalization of Universal which included a modernization of Universal Studios Hollywood and connections to key filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock who would go on to create some of the most iconic films in history for Universal. 

Universal Studios Florida Entrance

Matushita Electric (1990): Matushita Electric was a Japanese electronics and technology company looking to break into the entertainment industry just as MCA chief Lew Wasserman was looking to sell a large portion of the company, including the Universal properties and upcoming Universal Studios Florida. 

FUN FACT: Matushita Electric eventually became the company we know today as Panasonic 

Seagram (1995): The marriage between Matushita Electric and MCA was short-lived as the drastic differences between the tech space, entertainment, Japanese business culture and American business culture created a problematic business environment between the new jointly entities.

Seagrams at the time was looking to expand into the entertainment business and would go on to acquire MCA and Universal from Matushita.

FUN FACT: Seagrams is in fact the company must notably known for Ginger Ale!

Vivendi Universal (2004): Seagrams was eventually acquired by another beverage company Vivendi which would expand their name to Vivendi Universal to recognize their new presence in the entertainment industry.

Sorting Hat at Universal's Islands of Adventure

General Electric (2011): Due to a series of costly acquisitions and potentially lower than expected cash flow from these acquisitions Vivendi was straddled with debt and looking to sell off some of its assets. 

General Electric who also owned NBC at the time would emerge as a bidder and after acquiring Universal (which included Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida and Universal Pictures) would form the massive media conglomerate still known today as NBCUniversal.

Who Currently Owns Universal Studios?

In 2011 General Electric would sell a majority stake in NBCUniversal to Comcast and then the remaining stake in 2013 to allow Comcast to become 100% owner of NBCUniversal.

NBCUniversal is still the subsidiary in which Universal Pictures and Universal Parks & Resorts which includes Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida as well as other Universal theme parks exist under. 

Comcast NBCUniversal Logo

Comcast has pushed Universal into one of its biggest phases of expansion ever with multiple new theme parks, movies and other various entertainment offerings. 

While Comcast is mostly known as a cable and internet provider, the company has become an entertainment giant in the last decade and also owns some other notable properties listed below:

  • Peacock
  • Illumination (the studio that created the Minions franchise)
  • DreamWorks (the studio that created the Shrek franchise)
  • Focus Features
  • Telemundo
  • Fandango

Is Universal Studios For Sale?

Universal Studios is not currently for sale as far as we know.

Comcast seems very happy with their acquisition of Universal Studios and has invested aggressively into the growth of the theme parks and movie studios division. 

Incredible Hulk ride at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Their investment into the Universal theme parks has especially paid off as almost every Universal theme park continues to report record profits and attendance.

While we don't expect to see a sale of Universal Studios anytime in the near future, these things can change at anytime especially if someone offers Comcast the right price.

As we've seen in the past - Universal Studios does tend to change ownership quiet often! 

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