Merlin looks to ‘re-float’

Merlin Entertainments Group, which markets major event space at such venues as
Alton
Towers, Legoland and Madame
Tussauds,  is reportedly looking again at floating on a stock exchange. Chief
executive Nick Varney has said that the group could move quickly to a float if a
window of opportunity opened up.

Last month, CN reported that Merlin’s owner, private
equity group Blackstone, pulled its £2bn stock market flotation via an initial
public offering (IPO) just 24 hours after it also pulled the flotation of
Travelport, an American travel business.

Varney told The Times newspaper, 10 March: “An IPO
remains a very strong option for us, though we won’t go at any price because we
don’t need to refinance until 2012”. “We’ve reported nine years of double-digit
growth, we’ve got strong growth prospects, we’re not over-levered, we’re not
squeezing every last morsel out of the cost base, we’re asset-backed and
cash-generative.

“Merlin is exactly the
sort of business institutions should be backing,” he added.

In related news, Merlin
has launched its ‘After Dark’ themed dining experience for corporate functions,
conferences and networking events at the London Dungeon.

London Dungeon can cater
for events up to 220 delegates and After Dark includes a tour through the
Dungeon, where guests can experience the darkest moments in London’s
history before a three-course meal hosted by ‘Sweeney Todd’ and ‘Mrs
Lovett’.

Merlin is the world’s
second largest attraction owner behind Disney.

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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