Merlin Entertainments has agreed to be taken over by Kirkbi Invests, a company owned the founding family of Lego. Private investor Blackstone will also provide capital for the transaction.
Merlin Entertainments has announced the sale of its Australian ski resorts, Hotham and Falls Creek, to Vail Resorts. The purchase price is A$174 million, roughly £95 million, and is subject to certain adjustments related to the timing of closing.
Merlin Entertainments saw visitor numbers hit a record 66 million at its attractions last year, a rise of 3.5 per cent over the previous year. Despite a challenging environment, the company reported a 4.8 per cent rise in annual pre-tax profits to £271 million.
Merlin Entertainments has revealed an accident at Alton Towers earlier this year could cost the company as much as £47 million. Four people were seriously injured during the incident on the ‘Smiler’ rollercoaster in June. The park was closed temporarily as a result of the accident, with a subsequent knock on affect hitting early summer trading.
Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, has been appointed to the role of chairman of the British Hospitality Association. He will assume the position when incumbent Alan Parker steps down on January 1st 2015. In his new role, Varney will join the BHA Board of Directors, working with chief executive Ufi Ibrahim and the executive team in the important lead up to the UK general election and the new political environment that will follow.
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.
Merlin Entertainments, Europe’s leading and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, today announces its financial results for the year to December 25th 2010
Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has acquired a 28 percent stake in theme park operator Merlin Entertainments for £2.25bn. Blackstone meanwhile reduces its stake and Dubai International Capital disposes of its remaining shares.
Merlin Entertainments has said it remains on target to grow this year despite having to shelve plans for a stock market floatation. The group, whose attractions include Madame Tussauds, Legoland, the London Eye and Alton Towers, said visitor numbers rose 9.7 per cent to 38.5 million during 2009.
Severe market volatility in the Eurozone has forced Blackstone to postpone plans to float Merlin Entertainments, the operator of Madame Tussauds and Legoland, just 24 hours after shelving plans for a £1.2bn listing of Travelport.