November 3, 2007 / 5:35 AM / 10 years ago

Disney eyeing theme park site in Malaysia-report

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) is looking to build a theme park on a 500-acre (202-hectare) site in southern Malaysia, a business weekly reported on Saturday.

Citing unnamed sources, the Edge said the theme park, to be located in Bardar Nusajaya in the Iskandar development zone, would be ready six years after a deal was signed, according to early proposals.

The proposed Disneyland theme park and resort is slated to be bigger than Hong Kong Disneyland and about the size of Tokyo Disney Resort, it said.

The government unveiled a $105 billion blueprint late last year to transform the southern tip of Johor state, which neighbours Singapore, into a regional economic zone for industry, logistics, trade and leisure.

Although the talks with Disney are progressing fast, discussions with other theme park operators, including Warner Bros Entertainment and MGM (MGM.N), have not ceased, the Edge said.

“However, a deal with Walt Disney looks most promising as it has expressed its seriousness and has come out with specifications on its requirements,” it quoted a source as saying.

If the talks with Disney are successful, a deal is expected to be signed by the middle of next year, it added.

Malaysia’s state-controlled UEM World UEMW.KL is developing Bandar Nusajaya, a township in southwest Johor.

The 2,200 square km (850 sq miles) Iskandar zone has so far clinched at least $6 billion in investments, including a $4.7 billion maritime park proposed by Dubai World and Malaysia’s infrastructure-to-energy group MMC Bhd (MMCB.KL).

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