Lego-owners acquire Merlin Entertainments for £5.9bn

By Bruno Reis

Kirkbi Invest, Kristiansen family’s private holding and investment firm and the owner of Lego, has announced its acquisition of Merlin Entertainments.

The UK-based theme park operator, which owns Legoland and Madame Tussauds, has been acquired by the Kirkbi Invest-led consortium for £5.9bn (US$7.48bn).

The consortium also includes the US-based private equity company Blackstone and Canada Pension Plan.

“As the long-term owner of the LEGO® brand and as a strategic shareholder in Merlin since 2005, we have great pride and passion for this amazing company, its management team and its employees,” commented Søren Thorup Sørensen, CEO of Kirkbi.

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“With a shared understanding of the business and its culture, we believe that this group of investors has the unique collective resources necessary to equip Merlin, including the LEGOLAND® Parks and LEGOLAND® Discovery Centres, for their next phase of growth.”

“We are committed to ensuring LEGOLAND® and the other activities in Merlin reach their full potential, which we believe is best pursued under private ownership, in order to deliver fantastic experiences to visitors of all ages around the world.”

“We are pleased to partner with KIRKBI and CPPIB to acquire a business we know very well,” added Joe Baratta, Global Head of Private Equity at Blackstone.

“We are prepared to commit the substantial resources required to support the long-term objectives of Merlin, which will require significant investment to ensure its long-term success.”

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