Lego strikes deal to buy back Legoland, other theme parks

Lego strikes deal to buy back Legoland, other theme parks

Lego strikes deal to buy back Legoland, other theme parks

Chairman Sir John Sutherland said' the company has generated meaningful value since IPO, with significant growth in revenue, earnings and cash flow.

Private equity firm Blackstone - part of the investment group - said it had the "substantial resources" required to support Merlin's long-term plans "which will require significant investment to ensure its long-term success".

Edinburgh Dungeon owner Merlin Entertainments has agreed to a near-£5 billion takeover from Lego's owners, a private equity giant and a Canadian pension fund. By increasing its shop number to 140, the Danish company will have achieved its most rapid expansion in any market. Merlin owns 23 Madame Tussauds wax museums and 46 Sea Life aquariums.

Through its investments in China and elsewhere, Lego is attempting to stabilize its sales.

In 2005, Kirkbi had sold Merlin a majority interest in the Legoland parks.

USA activist investor ValueAct bought a large stake in Merlin at that point and has been pushing for change ever since, with a call in May this year for the theme park operator to go private, arguing it was investing too much capital in long term projects that won't generate decent returns for years.

Strong to severe storms moving into Alabama - are more coming?
Sunday was expected to be cooler, with a forecast high of 24 C, although the humidex will make it feel closer to 29. Severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued for Lac qui Parle and Yellow Medicine counties until 7 a.m.

Merlin's stock performance was volatile, however, as terror attacks in the United Kingdom dented visitor numbers at some of its attractions in recent years.

Merlin, Kirkbi, Blackstone and CPPIB did not immediately respond to requests for comments. Merlin's shares jumped 14 percent in pre-trade.

The deal values the company at 455p per share, representing a 15 per cent premium on the FTSE 100 firm's 395p per share value at the end of trading on Thursday, giving the group a total enterprise value of £5.9bn.

Merlin Entertainments has agreed to be taken private by investors including Lego's founding family and buyout firm Blackstone for nearly £6bn in cash.

"We are therefore unanimously recommending it to our shareholders", he said, adding that the unsolicited approach followed the rejection of several proposals by the investment consortium.

Kirkbi shared details of the offer in a news release, saying that it would be made to Merlin through a new company "with each of KIRKBI and the Blackstone/CPPIB group owning 50 per cent upon completion".

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