Updated from 5:42 a.m. EDT

Goldman Sachs ( GS) led a group of investors to take private a Universal Studios theme park in Japan for more than $1 billion, the park's operator announced.

The Osaka-based amusement park, formerly owned by General Electric ( GE), has been struggling due to the global downturn, which has left consumers with less money to spend on expensive diversions.

The 50,000 yen per share bid represents a more than 25% premium to the closing price of 47,000 yen on Tuesday. Goldman, which already owned a large stake in the park, told Reuters it is being joined by investors MBK Partners and Owl Creek in its privatization bid.

After the transaction is completed, Goldman Sachs will own 61% of Universal Studios, up from 41% now, Goldman said. Its partners are hoping to control the remainder.

USJ management said in a statement that it supports Goldman's tender offer.

The park opened in 2001 in Osaka with rides and entertainment based on Hollywood movies, including "Jurassic Park" and "Jaws."

But it never achieved the massive popularity of Disneyland near Tokyo, even among amusement park-loving Japanese.

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