Merlin recommends £4.8bn buyout from consortium

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

  1. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    The major problem with London is the fact it sucks the life out of the rest of the country and is completely unapologetic about it (the city I'm talking about, not londoners) . But that's for a different thread.....

    Terrorism is just a lame Merlin excuse. Remember that they used that excuse for ALL their attractions nationwide and not just London midways. What happened in Paris (although I accept DLP isn't really anywhere near Paris) was even worse, yet I don't hear the Walt Disney Company grizziling about terror attacks ruining their business.

    Cut backs, stingy opening hours and closed attractions are what people got fed up with Merlin for. The Smiler and terrorism of course had an impact but were used as a smokescreen to hide crap running of RTP's.
     
  2. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    You leave a topic for a few days and it suddenly turns into a critique of London..... huh?
     
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  3. Alsty

    Alsty TowersStreet Member

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    Getting the thread back on topic, there's lots of documents on the Merlin web site: here
    (scroll to the bottom and click accept)

    Most of the documents are dry and full of legalese, but some of the infographics are quite interesting.
     
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  4. Doublethink

    Doublethink TowersStreet Member

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    Cheers for looking, won't have time to browse though today due to work. Any interesting finds?
     
    Last edited: 2nd Jul 2019
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  5. Chessy Shop

    Chessy Shop TowersStreet Member

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    Apparently Merlin have achieved 'record levels of guest satisfaction.' That was certainly interesting.
     
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  6. Doublethink

    Doublethink TowersStreet Member

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    It helps when your feedback Ipads mysteriously stop taking submissions on a bad day. The plumiting trip advisor ratings on legoland Windsor and Chessington would suggest that they forgot to put "dis" in front of "satisfaction levels"
     
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  7. Alsty

    Alsty TowersStreet Member

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    Yes, the figure being around 56% :D
     
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  8. Jonathan

    Jonathan TowersStreet Member

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    I’m amazed it’s that high.
     
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  9. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    Ah good old guest/customer satisfaction. One of the few ways a PLC can still manipulate the stock market completely legally. It's woeful that government legislation around the world is still so far behind the curve, a bit like how GDPR was 10 years behind all the activity the likes of Facebook were doing.

    From fast food outlets to retailers to holiday companies to leisure companies, it's all a big con to manipulate share prices. Lower level managers are given rediculous "satisfaction" targets to meet under enormous pressure from above. The result is a nudge nudge wink wink approach where managers and staff feel pressurised into filling out false surveys on their phones and other electrical devices or making sure tablets etc misteriously "break" on bad days.

    Everyone knows it happens, right up to the boards of directors. Yet the CEO can proudly parade their fantastic achievement around in front of the city, claiming glory for a job well done. It protects the share price, directors get rich, and everyone except for those bejng pressurised into committing the fraud are happy.
     
  10. Danny

    Danny TPWW's no.1 Fan

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    The pressure we were under during my Merlin stint to get guests to fill out the KPI machines who'd had a good experience, and to fob the ones with a bad experience off was obscene. Every morning brief would end with the number of KPI targets that needed to be hit.

    That's not a genuine way of sourcing guest feedback.
     
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  11. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    I bet you every penny I have that managers were submitting a load of surveys themselves as well.
     
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  12. TakeYourMedicine

    TakeYourMedicine TowersStreet Member

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    You are 100% right, and don't think they've toned the KPI manipulation down.

    Does anyone know, do they still grant staff their bonuses according to the KPI scores (at usually an unattainably high threshold that needs to be passed, when staff are already very underpaid)?
     
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  13. Danny

    Danny TPWW's no.1 Fan

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    Never did for us. It was whoever got the highest mentions in a KPI got a voucher of some sort on a monthly basis, which then dropped to bi-monthly.

    Edit: The same for Trip Advisor as well.
     
    Last edited: 2nd Jul 2019
  14. MiserableMonkey

    MiserableMonkey TowersStreet Member

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    I used to try my best to avoid shifts involving KPI machines. You’d be set an impossible target of 90%+ for that day and then the phone would ring and it’d be a manager moaning that you’ve picked too many unhappy guests to complete it. You’d then be demanded to get the score up, or they’d move you to a crap position for the rest of the day as a punishment. Hated every second of that rubbish.
     
  15. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    Guest/customer satisfaction scores, Glassdoor, Trip Advisor, it's all corporate fraud.
     
  16. Jb85

    Jb85 TowersStreet Member

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    To be fair to the park line manager I bet they are under just as much pressure from the corporate bods above as the front line staff are from them. It’s all about the share price.

    Explaining this to my wife the other day was funny m. The ending quote was ‘I understand the need to make profit, but in the industry they are in surely guest satisfaction and a small return on investment outweighs chasing a share price you are never going to achieve’

    Very well put if you ask me. (She then finish with the ‘this is what’s wrong with Britain’ tag line !

    When you actually analyse this though, it’s completely true. How do Disney do this though? Are they not bothered so much as they have other revenue streams? They see high levels of profit and guest satisfaction and continue to invest way more the merlin ever would. What will a change in ownership ultimately achieve? Unless some sugar daddy wants the parks as his play thing any investment business is going to want to see growth and return on their investment.

    I personally cannot see this takeover working. There may some initial capex spike and operational budget increase but ultimately if this doesn’t lead to an increase in profits then they to will look to cut budgets and corners.

    Incidentally how long do we think this takeover will take to complete? Will it give merlin the excuse to pause any investments ? It seems clear already Thorpe aren’t getting their 2020 coaster and I would doubt AT anything significant again.
     
  17. Alsty

    Alsty TowersStreet Member

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    Isn't the difference that private ownership tends to consider long term growth, "spend money to make money", whereas public companies are more fickle and bow to the changing pressures from their shareholders who want quicker returns on their investment? They're less prepared to wait?
     
  18. Lurker

    Lurker TowersStreet Member

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    I think that depends on the investment company and how they see their investment paying back. They might just be taking it private to asset strip out of the public eye.

    Probably best to look at other brands they own and see how they act. From an outside perspective Lego seems to be doing well recently.
     
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  19. TakeYourMedicine

    TakeYourMedicine TowersStreet Member

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    Yes it definitely could go both ways, but Blackstone pumped money into Merlin in the first place and Lego stayed strong, so there's hope it wont be a simple stripping down and selling off out of public view. Unless it was splitting up Merlin's empire into more evenly competing divisions, but I cant see that happening.

    It's all about making a profit to keep everything going, but they shoot themselves in the foot and screw guest experience over again and again with the model they were following. They were making lots of short term profit but spending money very haphazardly and not where it was most needed long term, pretty much every complaint about Merlin can be put down to this root cause too!
     
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  20. Tim

    Tim TowersStreet Member

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    I would expect the intention is a long term investment. The Canadian company is a pension scheme which tends to look at long term growth. Also Lego wouldn't want to weaken there brand (they most likely intend to improve it).
     
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