Merlin Entertainments buyout completed

Discussion in 'European Parks and Attractions' started by Lurker, 23rd May 2019.

  1. RicketyCricket

    RicketyCricket TowersStreet Member

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    CCL Lego retheme confirmed.

    In all seriousness they must be pretty peed off about what Merlin have done to Legoland. It's like they've left their child with a really bad babysitter for a few years, and now they've got it back but it swears a lot and smokes 20 a day. The reviews this year alone could be enough to sack the suits at Merlin, it's hugely damaging to the brand.
     
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  2. TakeYourMedicine

    TakeYourMedicine TowersStreet Member

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    They probably are/were, but remember Lego never sold all its interests in Legolands, they've been the biggest shareholder in Merlin ever since selling the parks to them and have deep ties in Merlin. Lego have changed too since the first Legolands were built
     
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  3. Doublethink

    Doublethink TowersStreet Member

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    It's going to take a lot of funding if they want to improve the shambolic run down nature of Chessington, the staff shortages and apauling guest experience at Lego, Thorps lack of any identity and Altons need for renovation and infrastructure work....
     
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  4. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    I think we can all agree that the most important thing here, the key indicator as to whether or not the new buyers are doing the right thing is if they turn the River Rapids waterfalls back on!
     
  5. TakeYourMedicine

    TakeYourMedicine TowersStreet Member

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    Just found this short article interview with Nick Varney from 2009, when he mentions even then his want to float the company
    https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money...erview-Merlin-Entertainments-Nick-Varney.html

    Another classic Varney quote "I think our parks are better than Disney"

    He uses the Legoland profit figure as an example of just how fabulous Merlin are, and no doubt they did make a tonne more money, but of course its not a true reflection when Legoland under Lego was never designed as a cash cow, it was run as a promotional & sales arm of the Lego toy.

    Selling Legoland to Merlin was done because Lego had a wobble with its main sales and needed to put the parks on a back bench in the meantime, giving Merlin control to turn it into a cash cow deliberately. The whole park model changed so a massive difference is expected. A better like-for-like comparison might be difference between the Tussauds parks performances then and now.

    Are the Lego Group now on their way to buying back the Legoland parks?
     
  6. dm84

    dm84 TowersStreet Member

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    this explains why they killed of the vip pass.
     
  7. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    I doubt they would split off the Lego parks, chance they would separate the theme park business from the midways.

    With 50% stake in the business Lego will have a much greater say in the business. I believe pre-flotation Varney and the senior team had a lot of personal shares in the company, I would assume this has been weakened somewhat.

    Interesting to see if he does stick around, it’s easy to blame him for all Merlins ills but things are never that simple.

    If I am a betting man I would say there will be an investment spike in the next 5 years but then blackstone will put a brake on spending again. It’s their usual pattern of behaviour.
     
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  8. Doublethink

    Doublethink TowersStreet Member

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    Would rather have 5 years of spending and 5 of Neglect with the Blackstone rather than 10 years more austerity and Neglect with merlin....
     
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  9. Islander

    Islander TowersStreet Member

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    Not at all lol, why would it be related? :p
     
  10. Steve74

    Steve74 TowersStreet Member

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    All I'd say is be careful for what you wish for!
    Too often, takeovers that appear good for everyone turn sour. One that springs to mind is Kraft buying Cadburys a few years ago. Kraft promised a factory in Bristol would not close and other things wouldn't change for the worse. But guess what, things did. The factory closed very soon after and in many people's eyes, Cadbury's products are not what they used to be.
     
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  11. ihaveaspergers

    ihaveaspergers TowersStreet Member

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    Nick Varney has 6,637,072 shares in merlin, whilst he stands to gain from the transaction a massive amount he doesn't actually have any meaningful control.
    (Source- https://www.merlinentertainments.biz/recommended-offer )

    Sent from my Swift 2 Plus using Tapatalk
     
  12. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    I wasn’t referring to his current shares.
     
  13. ihaveaspergers

    ihaveaspergers TowersStreet Member

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    My point was that he was easily overruled so it isn't fair to blame him for everything.

    Sent from my Swift 2 Plus using Tapatalk
     
  14. Jb85

    Jb85 TowersStreet Member

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    Interesting. Very interesting.

    I don’t quite understand why Lego would want a number of the parks - Lego branded parks yea, but Thorpe, AT and the like l? Don’t see it myself

    I can envisage these assets being spun off into a separate company and sold on fairly soon. Not sure which investment firm would want to take them on really
     
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  15. Sauron97

    Sauron97 TowersStreet Member

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    Haven't been following theme parks as much lately so this news caught me really off guard.
    It must be embarrassing for Varney and co given their entire long term plan was to float the company and expect complete global success. The result has been a company being dragged in different directions by major shareholders and obsessions over share price indicators rather than working on a clearer and less algorithmic strategy. But he's got dollar out of it so I doubt he's feeling too hard done by
    Nobody wanted those Kraft foods scumbags to take over anyway and everyone was pointing out they'd Americanise/ put loads of sugar in all the products. There was vocal outrage across the country and Gordon Brown being the idiot that he is didn't listen or intervene. This is nothing like that and I don't think you can compare. Any change is welcome from the mess we have currently.
    As many posters above point out short term thinking has hit their asses hard and the share price fluctuations over the last couple of years have shown this. If this change means a rise in investment and a reverse on all the cuts then that's of course good. But we need major structural changes across the entire company and a management that are actually passionate about the industry and know the direction its going in. Less gimmicks and terrible marketing strategies, something that appeals to the 21st century (lazier) member of the general public, less focus on quantity and more focus on allowing high quality attraction designers to have more freedom. I'm not entirely convinced any of these things will be delivered on, but who knows.
    Either way, a good thing to happen surely would be for a splitting up of RTP and Midway divisions and respective assets in to separate companies .
     
    Last edited: 29th Jun 2019
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  16. Craig

    Craig TS Administrator Team Member

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    Just to clarify, the investor is Kirkbi, which is an investment company for the Kirk Kristiansen family. Although they do control the Lego brand, controlling stakes in the Lego Group etc, they also own real estate, wind farms and stakes in businesses like any other investment company such as their partners in this deal Blackstone and CPPBI (albeit on a considerably smaller scale).

    It's important not to simply write this off as Lego wanting their parks back, they'll want to see a return on their investment across the whole group. Remember they've owned almost 30% of the company as the largest shareholder for years anyway. If they wanted to buy solely the Lego parks, they could have most likely easily looked to purchase them on their own a long time ago.

    Lego is a strong brand, but still it only has limited possibilities before the brand is saturated in the attractions sector. They clearly see potential across the whole portfolio else they wouldn't have been such a major investor for so long.
     
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  17. bluesonichd

    bluesonichd TowersStreet Member

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    they see potential ... Lego themes areas at Towers next season
     
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  18. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    Unlikely due to the proximity of Manchester’s Lego discovery but it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.
     
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  19. evilcod

    evilcod TowersStreet Member

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    Even closer to the newer Birmingham one!

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  20. Danny

    Danny TPWW's no.1 Fan

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    Nope! It's practically slap bang in the middle of them both:

    Alton Towers - LDC Birmingham - 47.8 miles
    Alton Towers - LDC Manchester - 45.2 miles

    ....Sorry :tearsofjoy:
     
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