Tussauds owner Merlin to cast magic in London
MERLIN Entertainments Group Ltd, the private-equity backed owner of Madame Tussauds and the London Eye, plans to raise STG200 million (RM1.02 billion) selling shares in a initial public offering (IPO) here.
Blackstone Group LP, CVC Capital Partners Ltd and Lego Group owner Kirkbi A/S are expected to sell part of their stakes in the offering, the company said yesterday in a statement.
Merlin, which also runs Legoland parks, will use proceeds of the IPO to repay debt and cover the cost of the move.
Merlin abandoned a sale to the public three years ago in favour of selling a stake to CVC, and decided against an offering in New York earlier this year, according to people familiar with the matter. IPOs on European exchanges have raised about US$15 billion (RM47.55 billion) this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, more than twice the amount in the same period a year earlier.
"The directors of Merlin believe that the global offer will position Merlin for the next stage of its development by providing the appropriate long-term ownership structure," the company said.
"The global offer will also assist the group in retaining and incentivising employees."
Merlin said yesterday revenue rose 11 per cent to STG889 million in the 35 weeks ended on August 31, or 7.1 per cent on a comparable basis. The company is developing a Legoland site in Dubai and has identified potential locations in Japan and South Korea. It also has longer-term plans to expand in China.
At least 20 per cent of the shares will be publicly traded after the IPO. Kirkbi, which owns 75 per cent of the Lego Group, "intends to remain a long-term strategic shareholder".
Merlin planned to cut net debt from STG1.27 billion to less than three times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation ahead of listing, chief executive officer Nick Varney said in a March interview. Bloomberg