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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. 

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

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!


Universal Pictures - Wikipedia

Previous Owners of Universal Studios

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

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

During the 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 Matsushita 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 which 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.

Connections to key filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock were also established as part of this takeover who would go on to create some of the most iconic films in history for Universal. 

Universal Studios Florida Entrance

Matsushita Electric (1990): Matsushita 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: Matsushita Electric eventually became the company we know today as Panasonic 

Seagram (1995): The marriage between Matsushita 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 joint entities.

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

FUN FACT: Seagrams is the company most notably known for Ginger Ale!

Vivendi Universal (2004): Seagrams was eventually acquired by another beverage company Vivendi which would expand its name to Vivendi Universal to recognize its 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.

Universal Studios Hollywood entrance

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 under which Universal Pictures and Universal Parks & Resorts which includes Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida as well as other Universal theme parks exist. 

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


Secret Life of Pets animatronics

Is Universal Studios For Sale?

Universal Studios is not currently for sale as far as we know, but there are some rumors that NBCUniversal and Warner Brothers could merge

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

Incredible Hulk ride at Universal's Islands of Adventure

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

If NBCUniversal (which is the subsidiary Universal Studios falls under) merges with Warner Brothers, then there might be a massive shift in ownership of Universal theme parks!

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

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


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