Madame Tussauds owner Merlin Entertainments (MERLY) announced an agreement to be acquired by a consortium that includes the founding family of Lego, private -equity firm Blackstone Group (BX) - Get Report and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board -- Canada's national pension fund -- in a deal valuing the company and its debt at nearly 6 billion pounds ($7.6 billion).
The acquiring consortium will purchase Merlin Entertainments, which also operates Legoland theme parks, through an investment vehicle that values Merlin shares at 455 pence each, giving the firm an enterprise value of 5.905 billion pounds. Merlin will be 50% owned by Kirkbi, the private investment company of Lego's Kirk Kristiansen family, and 50% owned by Blackstone and the CPPIB.
"Following an unsolicited approach by a consortium of investors, and after rejecting a number of their proposals, the Merlin Independent Directors believe this offer represents an opportunity for Merlin shareholders to realize value for their investment in cash at an attractive valuation," Merlin Chairman John Sunderland said in a statement.
"The Consortium recognises that significant, long-term investment is required to ensure the longevity of the existing assets and to drive continued growth for the company and its stakeholders," CPPIB said in a separate statement.
Shares of Merlin Entertainments jumped almost 14%, or £54.20, to £449.20 on the London Stock Exchange. Shares of Blackstone opened up 0.63% at $44.61 in premarket trading in New York.