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Merlin Entertainments Announces Intention to Float

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Merlin Entertainments has announced its intention to float with an initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange.

Merlin, a global leader in branded, location-based family entertainment, is Europe’s leading visitor attraction operator and second only to Disney worldwide.  

The Group operates 99 attractions in 22 countries which attracted more than 54 million visitors in 2012 and generates revenue of over £1 billion and EBITDA of £346.0 million.

Global Offer Highlights published include:

  • Intention to list on the premium segment of the Official List.
  • Proceeds from the primary offering of £200 million to be used to reduce net debt and pay for costs associated with the offer.
  • Blackstone, CVC and KIRKBI expected to sell a portion of their shareholdings, however, KIRKBI (owners of LEGO and LEGOLAND trademarks and 75% owners of the LEGO Group) has stated an intention to remain a "long term strategic shareholder" with a "significant shareholding."
  • Merlin and the selling shareholders intend to "target a free float of at least 20%" with an Institutional Offer and an Intermediaries Offer to allow retail investors to participate.  The minimum investment in the Intermediaries Offer will be £1000 with a 30% discount for Merlin Annual Pass holders (two adult Merlin Annual Passes or one family Merlin Annual Pass).
  • The IPO will allow Executive Directors and other employee shareholders "an opportunity for a partial realisation of their investment in the Company".
  • Full details of the Global Offer to be released in the coming weeks.

Nick Varney, Chief Executive Officer of Merlin, said, “Merlin Entertainments comes to the market with a consistent record of strong growth in both revenues and new merlin entertainments logoprofits and bright prospects for the future. We have successfully followed a clear and proven strategy to build a high-growth international family entertainment business, built on strong brands and a portfolio of attractions balanced by geographies, products and demographics. Our very strong trading performance so far this year, with revenues over 11% ahead of 2012, is a further reflection of this.

“Delivering memorable experiences to our millions of visitors is our passion and we see a world of opportunity ahead of us. Our experienced team has the ability and ambition to deliver on our plans, as we develop our existing businesses and roll out Merlin’s unique portfolio of leisure brands internationally. The IPO will provide Merlin with the platform for our next stage of development and allow us to plan for the longer term. As such we are very excited about this next chapter of our story, and look forward to creating value for our shareholders and more magic for our customers.”

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