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Kaz

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Legoland and Tussauds owners to merge

by Kaz » Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:39 pm

The owners of Legoland and Madame Tussauds have unveiled a £1bn merger to create the world's second-largest operator of tourist attractions after Disney.

Dubai International Capital, which owns the Tussauds Group, will receive £1.03bn in cash and hold a 20pc stake in the combined business. DIC bought Tussauds for £800m in 2005.

Merlin Entertainments, the Legoland and London Dungeons-owner controlled by the private equity firm Blackstone, will be the majority owner of the merged company.

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Together the two visitor attraction operators have a presence in 12 countries and welcome over 30m visitors annually to their 50 attractions.

Merlin's chief executive Nick Varney will head the enlarged group with Tussauds' chief executive Peter Phillipson as non-executive chairman.

Mr Varney said: "The combination of the Merlin and Tussauds brands, people, and operating expertise will create an exciting and world-beating global entertainment company.

"With such iconic brands, the expanded Merlin will not only have strong development potential, but also an amazingly robust and high value portfolio. Our ambition is to build on this to become the world leader in location-based, branded, family entertainment."

He added: "The combined group also has the resources and expertise to focus on accelerating current expansion plans for all the brands, particularly in North America."

Sameer Al Ansari, executive chairman of Dubai International Capital, said: "As responsible long-term investors, we believe that this is an excellent deal for Tussauds."

He added: "Tussauds and Merlin are very complementary businesses and there is an obvious commercial logic in bringing them together."


This is great news! Tussauds are now the second largest tourist attraction operator in the world! The future of Tussauds attractions can only get better in my opinion!

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Kaycee

by Kaycee » Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:47 pm

Wow, this is quite exciting! As you say Kaz, we're going to have a very large and powerful company looking after arrrr AT! :D

Oooh. :D Maybe this is going a bit far, but surely the future of the parks and everything else does have to improve in line with being Disney's biggest competitor?

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by Kaz » Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:53 pm

Let me point something out:

Merlin has bought the Tussauds Group from Dubai International Capital (DIC) for £1.03bn, and under the terms of the deal DIC will retail a 20% stake in the combined company.


So DIC are no longer the majority shareholder meaning that we now have new owners of Tussauds! This is very, very interesting! This also means that DIC have had just over a £200 million return for holding the company for just over 2 years! Dam you rich Arabs!
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by Smeck » Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:26 pm

With a bit of luck that should see some proper investment going on at the Tussauds parks, hopefully with a bit more imagination and theming on new attractions :)

Wonder if the Annual Pass will be valid at Legoland? ;)

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AstroDan

by AstroDan » Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:08 pm

Well it just shows what DIC wanted from Tussauds, doesn't it. The interest of the parks was clearly not of concern. In the 2-years of DIC control we have had very little in all honesty.

So a new dawn in finance, I hope this provides the theme parks (particularly Alton Towers) with plenty of money to build bigger and better attractions into the next decade.

:)

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Williscroft

by Williscroft » Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:40 pm

I personally think this is fantastic news as I’ve never liked the idea of DIC owning Tussauds as I’ve always thought they just brought them for the chance of selling at a higher price and had no interest in the parks growth at all.

Like others have said hopefully this will allow bigger and better project to happen at the Tussauds parks :D
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by leejay » Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:41 pm

Sounds very, very, very interesting! Quick question though, will this affect pre-booked hotel stays? I've already payed half of it...
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Mikey

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by Mikey » Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:57 pm

Wow - this seems to have come out from nowhere. It can only be a good move, and it's great that they've become the second biggest theme park operator after Disney (even though I would have assumed that would six flags or universal).

And like Smeck says, I wonder if the AP will be valid at Legoland and the Dungeons now ;)
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Kaycee

by Kaycee » Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:57 pm

Quick question though, will this affect pre-booked hotel stays? I've already payed half of it...


Nooooo. :D Authority for that sort of stuff is delegated to the parks themselves, so this won't affect your booking at all.

I agree with AstroDan - we all got excited when DIC came in in 2005, but did it really affect us - i.e. did we see anything substantially new and different as a result of their ownership? It will be interesting to see what exactly this bodes for the Tussauds parks, but becoming part of the world's second biggest tourist attraction operator in the world surely has to eventually show some great benefits in term of investment? :D
Last edited by Kaycee on Mon Mar 05, 2007 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by Shent » Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:59 pm

"leejay" wrote:Sounds very, very, very interesting! Quick question though, will this affect pre-booked hotel stays? I've already payed half of it...


No that's to with the specific attraction and wont affect you at all mate :)
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by leejay » Mon Mar 05, 2007 4:03 pm

ok thanks. I was just panicking they would up the prices possibly, and id have to pay more. Im going to the park too haha! It's a lot of money thats all (Just on £600 + around £80 for a meal :shock: ).

Does seem inetresting however. Legoland theme as well, so thats always good to see!!
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by Mankey » Mon Mar 05, 2007 4:22 pm

The 2nd largest tourist attraction in the world... WOW!! and theyre owning AT, TP and Chessington! oooh i cant even imagine how awsome this may make the parks :shock: :D

^^ Chris ^^
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by Thomas » Mon Mar 05, 2007 4:41 pm

Sounds very good indeed!

Maybe we shall see something great happen of this, extra investments etc. Also second biggest isn't half bad is it

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Joel

by Joel » Mon Mar 05, 2007 4:57 pm

He added: "The combined group also has the resources and expertise to focus on accelerating current expansion plans for all the brands, particularly in North America."


That's not necessarily so encouraging though - investing in North America?! :?

http://www.merlinentertainments.biz/hom ... ge_en.aspx

They didn't mention SeaLife Centres and Gardaland included too - wonder if we'll get these on the AP too ;)
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by Lauren » Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:06 pm

So about this new woodie and all sorts, could this mean more money ect being spent?
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by Wes » Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:10 pm

This is nothing but GOOD news for Alton Towers. Tis new compainy won't be money grabbing, they'll invest heavily into the park.


I am SOOOOO HAPPY this is happened. We can now expect many changes around Tussauds parks. Hopefully big ones.


I was so happy about this when I found out at school, I ran around cheering! :oops:
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Shent

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by Shent » Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:12 pm

"Lauren" wrote:So about this new woodie and all sorts, could this mean more money ect being spent?


Doesnt mean anything really yet
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by Ash » Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:17 pm

I was so happy about this when I found out at school, I ran around cheering! Embarassed


Coo Dude 8)

This is good news i believe, i think that Alton now have far more "Theme Park Based" experience behind them, and lego land/gardaland have some excellent theming, do they have their own studios?

I think this could be the start of a beautiful relationship!

So now it goes :

Merlin : Legoland, Sea Life, Garda Land
/
Tussauds : Tussauds Studios, Alton Towers, Madame Tussauds, London Eye, Thorpe Park etc
/
Alton Towers : Theme Park, 2 Hotels, Water Park
/
Theme Park

Wonder if this will have an affect on plans that were originally put in place by the park? 2008 etc?
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by MostMagicalCat » Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:18 pm

here is hoping we get a new addition to the good ole annual pass :wink:
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Nick

by Nick » Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:22 pm

With added price tag no doubt, but at least an increase will be justified this time
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