Merlin Entertainments, a global leader in branded, location based family entertainment, has acquired Turkuazoo Aquarium in Istanbul from Dutch based Global Aquariums BV for an undisclosed amount.
Turkuazoo Aquarium will become part of Merlin’s European Midway Operating Group which is made up of global brands such as SEA LIFE, Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres and Dungeons. SEA LIFE is the largest aquarium brand in the world, welcoming around 14 million visitors a year through its 45 aquaria and Marine Sanctuary attractions.
The acquisition is a first for Merlin in Istanbul. The global expansion of Merlin’s midway brands is at the heart of the company’s growth strategy and Merlin has identified 100 locations in over 60 cities across the world with the potential to establish new Midway Attractions. Turkuazoo Aquarium is centrally located in the Istanbul Forum Mall in Bayrampassa, an ideal position from which Merlin can develop a new cluster of midway brands in the city.
Merlin plans a regular investment programme for Turkuazoo Aquarium, developing displays and infrastructure to enhance the visitor experience and to reinforce the aquarium’s world class reputation. In line with Merlin’s global aquarium strategy, even greater emphasis will be placed on the information and ‘fun learning’ elements.
Glenn Earlam, Managing Director, Merlin Entertainments Midway Attractions, said, “We are delighted to be adding the Turkuazoo Aquarium to our portfolio of marine attractions. Istanbul offers us both a very significant domestic market as well as a fast growing tourist trade, and this is a wonderful site – big enough to be awe inspiring, but also very accessible for visitors. Our objective therefore is to work with the excellent local team to add some additional Merlin “magic” and underline its position as a world class aquarium, and the “must see” attraction for the City.”