CVC and Blackstone cash out of Merlin

Two major private equity houses, CVC and Blackstone have sold out their stakes in Merlin Entertainments, with the share price having risen sharply in recent times.

Merlin, which owns theme parks including Thorpe Park, Alton Towers and Legoland and has overseen development of the events product at the venues, has seen a steady rise in its share price, following last autumn’s IPO.

Like-for-like sales in 2014 rose 7.1% last year and analysts point to a developing portfolio and reliability of the income stream.

The recent rise in the Merlin share price has made some analysts’ predictions look well wide of the mark, with the Daily Telegraph’s John Ficenec having advised readers and investors ‘to avoid’ the stock back in October when the IPO float was launched. It went off at the 315p mark, in the higher range of the predictions and immediately rose 12% in a buyer frenzy. Merlin’s shares were trading at 424p on 12 March.

Over 87% of the IPO sale went to private investors and pension funds, with individual members of the public receiving 12.5%.

The offering raised £987m then for the shareholders.

Last week, in the final phase of the latest sell off from CVC and Blackstone, the shares changed hands, according to Reuters, in the 417p-426p range.
 
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Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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