Anheuser-Busch InBev said on Wednesday it had agreed to sell its U.S. theme parks to private equity group Blackstone for up to $2.7 billion, shedding a non-core business to help pay for its merger.

The world's largest brewer, formed by InBev's $52 billion takeover last year of U.S. rival Anheuser-Busch, has said it plans to raise $7 billion from divestments to help pay off $45 billion of loans.

The theme park deal would push it to within about $500 million of that target.

Blackstone would acquire AB InBev subsidiary Busch Entertainment Corp (BEC), which AB InBev said was the second-largest theme park operator in the United States.

It has 10 parks -- including three SeaWorlds and two Busch Gardens and 25 million visitors per year.

Blackstone would pay $2.3 billion on closing and a right to participate in its return on initial investment capped at $400 million, AB InBev said in a statement.

Blackstone would use senior secured credit facilities and mezzanine debt to finance its purchase.

Theme parks have been hurt during the recession as families curb spending.

AB InBev did not say when it expected the deal to close.

The brewer of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck's may still sell 11 breweries in seven countries in central and eastern Europe.

Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has submitted the only bid, of around $2 billion, sources say.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop)