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  1. #1

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    Exclamation Legoland Parks Sold To Merlin Entertainments

    If this is good news for the parks, which it looks like then I guess I am happy about this lol.

    Good read here:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4678213.stm

    The stuffy official PR here:
    http://www.lego.com/eng/info/default...untrycode=2057

    ---
    LEGO Group in partnership with Merlin Entertainments

    As part of a deal agreed today with private investment company Blackstone Capital Partners IV, an affiliate of the Blackstone Group, the European family entertainment company Merlin Entertainments and the LEGO Group, have established a new combined business which will own and manage both the four LEGOLAND Parks, and Merlin’s present attraction brands – Sea Life, Earth Explorer and Dungeons.

    In connection with the agreement, Blackstone Capital Partners buys the LEGOLAND Parks for €375m. Blackstone and management will take 70 per cent of the shares in the new Merlin Entertainments Group while the remaining 30 per cent will be held by the LEGO Group and Kirkbi A/S.

    With 12 million annual visitors the new company will be both the second largest visitor attraction business in Europe with 2 out of Europe’s 3 largest brands – LEGOLAND and Sea Life - and the 9th largest operator in the world.

    The new ownership will take effect from 1 July 2005. Both Blackstone/Merlin and the LEGO Group will be represented on the Board of Directors of the new Merlin Entertainments Group. The Board members from the LEGO Group will be CFO Jesper Ovesen and Senior Vice President, Global Innovation and Marketing, Mads Nipper. CEO of the new company will be the present CEO of Merlin Entertainments, Nick Varney.

    LEGO Group owner, Mr. Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, commenting on the new partnership, said: "The toy market has been declining for some time and is extremely competitive. To consolidate its position, the LEGO Group chose to sell its majority holding in the LEGOLAND Parks in order to focus on closer relations with our customers and consumers, improved marketing, and a greater emphasis on core products. It was however extremely important for us that the new ownership was based on the true LEGO values of playful learning and creative experiences of a high quality, and in Merlin Entertainments we have found a very professional partner with whom we can really release the potential of the LEGOLAND Parks. We have no doubt that together we will create a very strong player within the worldwide family attractions sector.”

    CEO of Merlin Entertainments, Nick Varney, says:
    "We see the new partnership as an excellent platform from which to realise the growth potential of both businesses, not just in Europe, but worldwide. Together they create a balanced portfolio of ‘chainable’ brands which are transferable across borders; and which is naturally protected against external factors such as weather, international visitor trends, and local market economics.”

    CEO of the LEGO Group, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, says:
    "With this new partnership, we will create a formidable new player within the family attractions sector, and that is why we want to be part of the new ownership. At the same time, the new ownership structure enables the LEGO Group to increase its focus on its core business.”

    The sale of the majority of the shares in the LEGOLAND Parks is an element in the Action Plan which the LEGO Group began to implement in March 2004. Among the objectives of the plan is the reduction of the LEGO Group’s asset base and increasing focus on the core business, toys.

    The agreement is subject to approval by EU competition authorities.

    The four LEGOLAND Parks are based in Denmark, England, USA and Germany, while Merlin Entertainments has 28 attractions in eight countries in Europe, and a head office in Poole in the UK.

    During the process, Morgan Stanley and PricewaterhouseCoopers were advisers to the LEGO Group.

  2. #2

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    Re: Legoland Parks Sold To Merlin Entertainments

    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalDude
    In connection with the agreement, Blackstone Capital Partners buys the LEGOLAND Parks for €375m.
    I wonder how much they originally cost? I'm guessing that they were heavily discounted.

  3. #3

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    Re: Legoland Parks Sold To Merlin Entertainments

    What does this mean for Legoland U.S.A?

    I wonder if this change of ownership will affect Legoland in the way Knott's was changed when Cedar Fair bought it. That would be a shame, Legoland is a cute little park.

    Definetely not worth the ticket price however, what they ask for now is rediculous.

  4. #4

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    Re: Legoland Parks Sold To Merlin Entertainments

    Legoland is a cute little park, with very low capacity. They need to either increase capacity or limit the number of people through the gate. The removed a ride with low rph and replaced it with and attraction that has abismal rph!

  5. #5

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    Re: Legoland Parks Sold To Merlin Entertainments

    Did they ever put something in to replace that defunct coaster in Legoland CA called Spellbreaker?

  6. #6

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    Re: Legoland Parks Sold To Merlin Entertainments

    doesn't blackstone own a chunk of Universal orlando??

    NBC universal/Venedeti universal(sp?)... and blackstone owned parts of the place i thought....

    This is good news for the parks.. they can be expanded and made better...

  7. #7

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    Re: Legoland Parks Sold To Merlin Entertainments

    They put in bank of ROBOCOASTERS. These are essentially industrial assembly line robots with a pair of seats on the end of the arms. They have a choice of five programs that the riders can choose from before they board. I believe there are six of them, mean that they can handle twelve riders per cycle. If they can manage twelve cycles per hour, that's a rph of 144. And people complined about Spellbreaker's RPH!
    Last edited by Dutchman; 07-24-2005 at 06:03 PM. Reason: typo

  8. #8

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    Re: Legoland Parks Sold To Merlin Entertainments

    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchman
    They put in bank of ROBOCOASTERS. These are essentially industrial assembly line robots with a pair of seats on the end of the arms. They have a choice of five programs that the riders can choose from before they board. I believe there are six of them, mean that they can handle twelve riders per cycle. If they can manage twelve cycles per hour, that's a rph of 144. And people complined about Spellbreaker's RPH!
    Of the times we have gone over to the area the park is in this summer we have only seen both sides open on one visit! Even on the 4th of July weekend only one side was open

    This is actually a BIG problem at LLCA - looooooow staffing. I do not expect to see both sides going that often.... sad.

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