$1.9billion

|

Seller Dubai International Capital LLC kept a 20% stake in thecompany.

|

Now that the transaction has closed, Merlin will operate itsmore than 50 attractions and four hotels through a new divisionalstructure that includes resort theme parks and the midwayattractions. Chief executive Nick Varney will oversee both sectors.Under the new order, Gardaland, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, HeidePark and Chessington World of Adventures will all be a part of theresort theme parks; while Madame Tussauds, Sea Life, London Eye,Dungeons, Warwick Castle, Legoland Discovery Centre, EarthExplorer; and Legoland Parks will be part of the midwayattractions.

|

"The new Merlin Entertainments Group starts as an exceptionalleisure business. It has an enviable combination of brands,expertise and resources second to none, not just in visitorattractions, but also in the leisure sector as a whole. We now havea clear opportunity to build on this," Varney says in a statement.The firm's strategy includes further developing existingattractions, developing new midway attractions in Europe and theUS, and connecting attractions and hotels to create a resort-likedestination.

|

"I believe that we now have a unique opportunity to become theworld leader in location based, branded, quality familyentertainment, and, with the support of our investors, mycolleagues and I are entirely committed to achieving thatobjective," Varney says.

|

Goldman Sachs, HVB and Lehman Brothers provided the debtfinancing for the transaction, and company officials say thecombined companies will be refinanced soon. Goldman Sachs advisedBlackstone, while Lehman Brothers and UBS advised Merlin andCitigroup advised DIC and Tussauds.

|

Merlin was purchased by Blackstone in May 2005 from HermesPrivate Equity for more than $200 million. Under Blackstone'smanagement Merlin bought the Legoland theme parks in August 2005and Gardaland, Italy's largest theme park, in October 2006.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.