Jun 28, 2019

Merlin conjures up breathing space with £6bn buyout

The division expanded across the UK and Europe before its management group led a £47m buyout of Vardon's attractions division to form Merlin in 1999. Since Merlin floated six years ago at a valuation of £3bn, its revenues have increased at a compound annual rate of 7.4 per cent and visitor numbers have increased 24 per cent to 67m. Recommended. Last month - two days after the first unsolicited offer for Merlin was made - US activist investor ValueAct sent a public letter to the company's board suggesting a private buyout, although John Sunderland, Merlin's chairman, said this had no bearing on the deal. For investors who bought in to Merlin at the time of the IPO, it represents a 56 per cent total return. Another person with direct knowledge of the deal said Merlin needed the capital that private equity could provide over the coming years.

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