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Merlin Entertainments seeks to boost Asia Pacific footprint

Merlin Entertainments seeks to boost Asia Pacific footprint

Merlin Entertainments has made an A$140m takeover bid through subsidiary Merlin Australia for Living and Leisure Australia Group, owner of nine visitor attractions in Asia Pacific.

The LLA directors have unanimously recommended the offer to shareholders with Merlin now set to acquire Melbourne Aquarium and the Hotham and Falls Creek ski resorts in Victoria, Australia.

Nick Varney, chief executive officer of Merlin, said: “This is a unique opportunity for Merlin to acquire not just a group of high quality attractions which complement our existing portfolio of iconic global attraction brands, but which also increases our interests and exposure to Asia and Australia.

“Completion of this deal, together with our existing ongoing development, would represent an important step in our growth strategy for the region which we believe is full of opportunities and prospects for those with the right attractions and expertise.

Post completion, Merlin will have almost 90 world class attractions across North America, Western Europe, Asia and Australasia.

Merlin already operates Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Tower Eye, and Madame Tussauds attractions in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Bangkok.

Attractions under development in the region – both of which are planned to open in 2012 – are a major LEGOLAND theme park in Malaysia and a Madame Tussauds in Sydney.

The offer is subject to a number of conditions, including approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board.