Merlin Entertainments acquired by Lego consortium

Published on: 28th June 2019

A £5.9b deal has been agreed for Merlin, which operates theme parks including Legoland.

A consortium led by the family that controls the Lego toymaking empire has agreed a £5.9b takeover of Merlin Entertainments, the theme park operator which runs the Legoland attraction.

Merlin, which also counts waxworks Madame Tussauds and the London Eye among its attractions, had come under pressure from an activist investor to find a private buyer after struggling in recent months.

The consortium taking over the company is 50% owned by Kirkbi, the private investment company of the family of Kirk Kristiansen – the inheritor of the Lego fortune – who is said by Forbes magazine to have a net worth of $5.7b (£4.5b). The other half is owned by private equity buyer Blackstone and CPPIB, the Canadian pension fund.

The acquirers said they recognised the need for “significant long-term investment” in Merlin’s attractions. Kirkbi has owned a stake in Merlin since 2005 and currently holds 29.6% of shares.

Søren Thorup Sørensen, Kirkbi chief executive, emphasised Lego’s close relationship with Merlin’s Legoland attractions. He said the investors were committed to “Legoland and the other activities of Merlin”.


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