Lego Family To Buy Merlin Entertainments For $7.5 Billion
UK-listed theme parks operator Merlin Entertainments PLC is set to be bought by the Danish family that controls toy maker Lego AS, US private equity firm Blackstone and a Canadian pension fund for $7.5 Billion (USD).
The news was reported by the Financial Times on Thursday.
The newspaper noted that the deal would mark one of the largest European buyouts in “recent history”.
Citing “multiple people close to the matter”, the report indicated that the deal is expected to be announced as soon as on Friday morning, with Madame Tussauds wax museums operator’s shares to be valued at around 460 pence each. Sources, however, cautioned that the timing of the deal may slip.
Merlin’s shares closed 0.5% higher on Thursday at 395.00p each in London.
The offer will values Merlin at more than GBP 4.7 billion. The FTSE 250-listed company has net debt of GBP 1.2 billion, giving it an enterprise value of about GBP 5.9 billion.
Kirkbi, the investment vehicle of Lego’s founding family, already owns about 30% of Merlin shares, the Financial Times reported.
Merlin Entertainments PLC is known worldwide for their iconic properties such as Alton Tower, Thorpe Park, and Heide Park. The group also bought Legoland theme park chain in 2006 for 250 million pounds. With Merlin Entertainment’s purchase by Lego, the Legoland parks will once again be controlled by Lego.
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