HK Fincl Secy To Meet Disney Execs On HK Disneyland Expansion
Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang plans to meet with executives at Walt Disney Co. (DIS) in Los Angeles Friday to discuss Hong Kong Disneyland’s expansion plans, the government said Wednesday.
The planned high-level meeting between the two theme-park shareholders follows Disney’s announcement last month that it would put the already-delayed expansion of the Hong Kong park on hold after failing to agree with the city’s government on a cash injection.
Disney and the Hong Kong government have been in discussions over financing a second phase of Hong Kong Disneyland, which has been criticized for its small size and lack of major attractions since its 2005 opening.
Hong Kong Disneyland, which is 54%-owned by the government, is the smallest of Disney’s theme parks; the company also has parks in the U.S., Japan and France.
At stake in the talks is the government’s desire to keep its controlling stake in the theme park, given Disney’s willingness to inject capital into the joint venture to fund the expansion.
Citing unnamed sources, the Hong Kong Economic Times reported Thursday that the government is open to reducing its stake in the park in return for Disney funding that would help expedite the expansion program.
The report said a likely option would be that Disney invests HK$7 billion for the expansion, cutting the government’s stake to 51%.
Disney said earlier the expansion plans being negotiated involve increasing Disneyland’s themed areas by a third of its current size.