LEGO to buy LEGOLAND theme park operator Merlin Entertainments in $7.6 billion deal [News]

The parent company of The LEGO Group, Kirkbi A/S, has reached a deal to purchase Merlin Entertainments for 6 billion pounds, or more than 7.6 billion USD. Merlin Entertainments operates eight LEGOLAND theme parks from California to Dubai, dozens of LEGOLAND Discovery Centers, as well as other famous attractions such as Madam Toussad’s and the London Eye, all of which will now come under control of LEGO owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the grandson of LEGO’s founder.

Yesterday it was reported by Reuters that Kirkbi, the company under which the Kristiansen family organize their holdings, is joining with two other investment groups, Blackstone Group LP and Canadian pension fund CPPIB, to purchase a 50 percent stake in Merlin. LEGO sold the majority stake in its theme parks to Merlin in 2005 during its financial crisis in an effort to focus more on the core brick product. Now as the largest toy manufacturer in the world with the financial crisis firmly behind them, the company is looking to diversify its holdings once more and the LEGOLAND brand was the natural place to start. Along with the 30 percent stake that Kirkbi retained in Merlin, the new deal will grant a controlling interest in the theme parks that bear their most famous product’s name.

2 comments on “LEGO to buy LEGOLAND theme park operator Merlin Entertainments in $7.6 billion deal [News]

  1. Purple Dave

    I thought Merlin bought a 49% stake but was allowed to run the company as if they were a majority shareholder. The distinction is that it means The LEGO Company could always veto any decision that conflicted with their core business model, such as the rule they imposed where Merlin could _not_ convert any LEGOLAND park over to a different subject matter, like Barbieland. If Merlin had a 51% stake, they could even go so far as to force The LEGO Company to sell their remaining shares to Merlin instead.

  2. gomek

    One very minor thing that will help. When I was there at least every other customer at the store tried to use their VIP card and were totally confused as to why they couldn’t.

    Here’s a major thing that won’t. The first Lego movie was a mega hit. I’m sure it accounted for a bump in popularity that will be hard to repeat.

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