Merlin Entertainments Agrees to Acquisition by Lego-led Consortium

Merlin Entertainments Agrees to Acquisition by Lego-led Consortium

UK-based Merlin Entertainments plc is to be acquired by Berkeley Bidco Ltd, a consortium comprising Kirkbi, the investment vehicle of Lego’s Danish billionaire founding family, private equity firm Blackstone Group LP, and Canadian pension fund CPPIB.

Merlin, founded in 1999, is the world’s second biggest attractions operator behind Disney, operating 130 attractions, 19 hotels and six holiday villages in 25 countries. These include Legoland Discovery Centres, Sea Life, Madame Tussauds, Alton Towers, and Chessington World of Adventures.

Kirkbi has maintained a 29% strategic stake in Merlin since its sale of Legoland Parks to Merlin in 2005. The proposed acquisition values the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Merlin at approximately £4,766 million (€5,320m) on a fully diluted basis and implies an enterprise value of £5,905 million (€6,593m).

Sir John Sunderland, Chairman, Merlin Entertainments, said: “Following an unsolicited approach by a consortium of investors, and after rejecting a number of their proposals, the Merlin independent directors believe this offer represents an opportunity for Merlin shareholders to realise value for their investment in cash at an attractive valuation. We are therefore unanimously recommending it to our shareholders.”

Soren Thorup Sorensen, Chief Executive, Kirkbi, said: “As the long-term owner of the Lego brand and as a strategic shareholder in Merlin since 2005, we have great pride and passion for this amazing company, its management team and its employees. With a shared understanding of the business and its culture, we believe that this group of investors has the unique collective resources necessary to equip Merlin, including the Legoland Parks and Legoland Discovery Centres, for their next phase of growth.


“We are committed to ensuring Legoland and the other activities in Merlin reach their full potential, which we believe is best pursued under private ownership, in order to deliver fantastic experiences to visitors of all ages around the world.”

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, editor and proofreader for 53 years, and ITTN's News & Features Editor for 43 years. His travel blog is at

More in News

Willie Walsh Appointed Deputy Chairman of CarTrawler

Neil SteedmanSeptember 26, 2020

UNWTO Launches New Tourism Recovery Tracker

Neil SteedmanSeptember 25, 2020

Royal Caribbean announces updates to 2021 Summer cruises

Michael FloodSeptember 24, 2020

ITAA Calls for Covid-19 Tests Before Flight Departures

Neil SteedmanSeptember 24, 2020

“Celebrity Cruises’ newest ship, Celebrity Apex, arrives in Southampton

Michael FloodSeptember 23, 2020

IATA Calls for Universal Testing to Rebuild Aviation Confidence

Neil SteedmanSeptember 23, 2020

London Travel Week Will Be Fully Virtual in 2020

Neil SteedmanSeptember 23, 2020

What’s Another Green List?

Neil SteedmanSeptember 22, 2020

Unprecedented Industry Appeal to EC President to End Quarantines and Develop Common EU Testing Protocol

Neil SteedmanSeptember 22, 2020

Copyright © 2019 Belgrave Group Limited, C4 Nutgrove Office Park, Nutgrove Avenue, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14, Ireland