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Published on Friday, June 28, 2019

Lego buys attraction operator Merlin Entertainments

Attraction operator Merlin Entertainments is to be sold to a consortium led by the Danish family that controls the Lego toymaking firm.

The company, Kirkbi Invest says it has the money and experience to 'realise the company's potential to grow'.

Merlin Entertainments operates the Legoland attraction in Windsor, as well as the London Eye, Alton Towers and Chessington Adventures, among others.

Kirkbi already owns almost a third of the shares in Merlin Entertainments, and says it does not expect the deal to lead to any significant changes.

All existing Merlin attractions in the UK will remain open and it has no plans to sell any part of the business, it said.

Merlin is the world's second-largest operator of visitor attractions, with more than 130 attractions in 25 countries.

The agreement with Kirkibi follows activist shareholder ValueAct Capital calling on the company to find a private buyer. Merlin said it had already rejected several approaches.

Merlin's shares will now be delisted from the London Stock Exchange.

The company has struggled in recent years, including negative publicity over  the 2015 Alton Towers rollercoaster crash, in which 16 people were injured..

In 2017 it issued a profits warning after visitor numbers were hit by the terror attacks in London and poor weather.

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