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From everything that I have read (10 extrapolations of the same press release), this won't be owned by Merlin, they are the chosen operator.
Naturally someone has already updated Wikipedia to imply it's a purchase.
As part of the agreement, Merlin Entertainments will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the Cadbury World site, its employees, and all operational decisions, as well as holding brand usage rights for Cadbury World in the UK.
This definitly feels like it is a Mondelez worldwide decision.
The brand license is the big win for Merlin here, and is where we'll see the biggest raft of changes. Managing the Birmingham attraction is probably seen as just a necessity for them in exchange for getting the ability to use the brand elsewhere in the UK.
They’ve made lots of changes and additions but most were about 10-15 years ago now with the addition of the bean dark ride and the cinema building.I only ask because they appear to be trying to move it away from solely being about the factory based on their recent history (for instance, the recent addition of the 4D cinema)
But where would people park if you have stuffed a theme park on their car park?Quick question here; would Merlin be able to call the shots on additions and/or expansion to the site and provide a budget for such additions, or would that boil down to Mondelez?
I only ask because they appear to be trying to move it away from solely being about the factory based on their recent history (for instance, the recent addition of the 4D cinema), and there's a surprising amount of space around the outdoor section according to Google Earth, with at the very least two car parks that don't appear to be guest car parks right by it that could be ripe for some sort of expansion; here's the entire site, for some perspective:
So while I'm not going to suggest for a second that they turn it into Britain's Hersheypark or anything; could we see some sort of small-scale theme park expansion at Cadbury World under Merlin? Maybe something similar to the Tony Chocolonely project that was planned in the Netherlands, which was to be a small indoor theme park joined onto a chocolate factory? Those 2 car parks have a combined area of around 15,000 square metres, which is a good few acres; no small amount of land by any stretch!