Merlin recommends £4.8bn buyout from consortium

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

  1. Tim

    Tim TowersStreet Member

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    There have long been murmurings that Lego have wanted a firmer hand in what the Legoland's are doing. But my position is somewhat biased towards this as the people I work with have the most to benefit if this is the case.
     
  2. TakeYourMedicine

    TakeYourMedicine TowersStreet Member

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    Sorry I don't understand what you mean, but I meant I'd personally been hoping that Merlin would shake the public company status for years because I just didn't think it could do any favours for their parks on the ground.

    Im sure its a complex situation to unpick and all that concerns us (park visitors) is better long term development of the parks, but that won't come from a public structure. It also needs competition and less homogeny in the industry but that's a different problem.
     
  3. ihaveaspergers

    ihaveaspergers TowersStreet Member

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    I mean a particular set of preferred new overlords for merlin.

    Sent from my Swift 2 Plus using Tapatalk
     
  4. TakeYourMedicine

    TakeYourMedicine TowersStreet Member

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    So long as they don't come steaming in with zero understanding of theme parks, fire everyone regardless of their merit and think they're gonna make easy billions, only to quickly realise they can't and sell it in a worse state than before— like what Charterhouse and DIC did!

    So in that sense Blackstone seems to be a safe option
     
  5. bluesonichd

    bluesonichd TowersStreet Member

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    We’re there not decent park expansion under charter house and DIC ?
    I still can’t see there being any decent level of investment, not like any of the European parks seam to do.
     
  6. Kraken27

    Kraken27 TowersStreet Member

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    Not the first time Blackstone have done something like this (by far) - it's what they specialise in.

    Back in 2006 they bought Center Parcs UK and took it back to private ownership (i.e. de-listed it from the stock exchange). Purchase price was £1.1billion. They invested heavily in the business & sold it on for £2.4billion in 2015.

    I suspect there will be more than a few happy Merlin employees (permanent ones) who will be getting a windfall if they happen to own Merlin shares.
     
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  7. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Ooh, so we could be seeing Merlin's value increase! This can only mean one thing; heavy investment!
     
  8. Andrew

    Andrew TS Contributor

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    It really means no change to the parks but bigger bonuses for the board as a ‘job well done’. Don’t kid yourself
     
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  9. TakeYourMedicine

    TakeYourMedicine TowersStreet Member

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    Tussauds (once it ran parks) was always under a company similar to Blackstone, Pearson Plc, and was heavily influenced by Pearson. They gave Tussauds a great run considering, massively growing the parks, improving Chessington and Alton Towers through the 1990s. But then sold it off in 1998 when they decided to cut their leisure division.

    Under Charterhouse, Tussauds notably changed from developing parks with big new areas and rides like Nemesis, Katanga Canyon/Haunted House, Transylvania etc, to Oblivion, Air, Beanoland and all of Thorpe in the early 2000s. So there was continued big investment but it was generally a bit more short term and cheaper approach, with Thorpe getting the best out of it and Chessington in big decline.

    I'm pretty sure this was the time when the new parent company pushed out all the old Tussauds lot too, including John Wardley (and others)

    Then in 2005 DIC took over, did almost nothing and saw some of the cheapest, worst developments of the time. They cut the theme out of theme park completely, then hurredly sold to Merlin.

    So there's never one big golden solution but it shows just how much parent ownership influences the parks

    What has Merlin's value got to do with "heavy investment"? Is £4.8Bn not enough to invest properly already?
     
  10. Benzin

    Benzin TowersStreet Member

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    Just because it's investment doesn't mean it's the RIGHT investment...

    Rita was an investment for example...
     
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  11. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    What I mean is that in order to increase Merlin's value, they surely need to invest to some degree.
     
  12. Islander

    Islander TowersStreet Member

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    I mean, under what authority do you say this? It goes against what most are saying :p
     
  13. Danny

    Danny TPWW's no.1 Fan

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    Indeed there are.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Danny

    Danny TPWW's no.1 Fan

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    Merlin's vision on increasing value has been to increase the number of new attractions; not the number of investments in pre-existing attractions. Hence why Legoland theme parks and Midways have been cropping up everywhere like breeding bunnies because it is a cheap copy/paste formula to do so.

    By removing the shareholders from the equation, guest spending will become more critical and we all know the only way that will happen is with investment being made into the pre-existing attractions.

    Don't expect this to be a quick turnaround though. They aren't suddenly going to announce a major coaster and dark in every park for next year. This will very much be a long-term move, albeit a welcome one nonetheless.
     
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  15. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Does this mean that things like the next major investment at Thorpe potentially being pushed forward? Or do you mean from an improvements point of view?
     
  16. TakeYourMedicine

    TakeYourMedicine TowersStreet Member

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    What it means in practical terms could be anything or nothing, we will simply have to find out. In a brand new series of The Only Way Is Merlin coming to you soon.
     
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  17. Alsty

    Alsty TowersStreet Member

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    I'm not sure it's that simple. For example, if they got more visitors to their attractions, they could claim that their existing rides are "worth" more.

    Capex is a strange thing as you trade cash for an asset, in this case rides. The asset has a value which is less measurable.
     
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  18. WillPS

    WillPS TowersStreet Member

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    I'm very optimistic about the involvement of the Kirkbi family, I just hope this isn't a holding position before they can take all the Lego interests and leave Blackstone with the rest. Perhaps the closeness in operations between the Discovery Centres and Sea Life (and in turn the Sea Life centres and the non-Legoland parks) will prevent that from happening easily.

    Either way, I agree this is probably a good thing for the Merlin parks in terms of investment in rides and perhaps accommodation quality, but don't expect a private equity firm like Blackstone doing anything which reduces their ability to empty their guests' wallets.
     
  19. evilcod

    evilcod TowersStreet Member

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    I think the difference is that whilst the public shareholders want to empty pockets as quickly as possible a firm like Blackstone will see the advantage of emptying more pockets over a longer time period which can only be done with investment.
     
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  20. WillPS

    WillPS TowersStreet Member

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    Very true. What I was hinting at was that, as one example, it's unlikely to mean they will bin off or even curtail paid Fastrack. Might mean they will manage it better (for example, with investment in Qbot).
     

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