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Harry Potter Attraction Heading To Universal Hollywood

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LOS ANGELES — Comcast Corp. is in the final stages of a deal to bring Harry Potter's magic to life in Hollywood.

The owner of Universal Studios will announce before year's end that it will build a version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at its Universal Studios Hollywood theme park. That's according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly about it.

The first Harry Potter attraction opened in Orlando, Fla., in June 2010. Since then, attendance at Universal Orlando has jumped by 40 percent to 50 percent, Comcast executive vice president Steve Burke said in September. He said the attraction caused "a gigantic sea change in the profitability."

A Universal spokeswoman declined to comment Thursday. The development was earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Comcast, the cable TV giant that bought a majority stake in NBCUniversal in January in a $13.5 billion deal, also bought out its 50 percent partner in the Universal Orlando theme park, The Blackstone Group, for $1.03 billion in June.

Burke told analysts in September that the theme parks business was the "last thing on our list" when acquiring NBCUniversal, but the company is now "delighted" to own more of it.

In the nine months through September, its theme-park revenue rose 33 percent from a year ago to $1.49 billion, while operating cash flow jumped 61 percent to $644 million.

That makes it the company's second-most profitable division behind pay TV channels, accounting for just under a quarter of the operating cash flow overall.

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