Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

London Eye and Alton Towers Operator Plans [Pounds Sterling]3bn Flotation

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

London Eye and Alton Towers Operator Plans [Pounds Sterling]3bn Flotation

Article excerpt

Byline: Lucy Tobin

MERLIN Entertainments, the theme park operator behind the London Eye, Alton Towers, Madame Tussauds and Legoland, today set out plans to raise [pounds sterling]200 million by floating a fifth of the company on the London stock market.

The initial public offering values the private equity-owned business, which operates 99 attractions in 22 countries, at [pounds sterling]3 billion.

Chief executive Nick Varney said buoyant demand for Royal Mail's soaring shares, particularly among retail investors, had inspired confidence. Small investors can buy into Merlin's float with a minimum [pounds sterling]1000 investment -- a third more than the minimum spend on Royal Mail stock -- but Varney said: "For a lot of Londoners, it's a chance to own a bit of the London Eye and Legoland."

Merlin, whose other sites include Chessington World of Adventures and Warwick Castle, is the world's number two attractions company after Walt Disney. …

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