Here’s a bit of fun business news – Kirkbi A/S and a consortium of funds have announced that they have purchased Merlin Entertainments for £4.8bn.
As you know, Merlin Entertainments is the British theme park operator that runs attractions such as Madame Tussauds, and most importantly all the Legoland Theme Parks round the world.
It’s a pretty interesting move as Kirkbi, which owns The LEGO Group signals that the acquisition is meant to “realise the company’s potential to grow”.
“With a shared understanding of the business and its culture, we believe that this group of investors has the unique collective resources necessary to equip Merlin, for their next phase of growth,”
This is a pretty interesting move as it gives Kirkbi direct control of all Legoland and Legoland Discovery Centre Theme Parks, which I assume is a good move to maintain a consistent and improved LEGO brand experience.
This is also quite a remarkable turn of events as LEGO previously sold all its Legoland Theme Parks in 2005, when it was struggling financially and on the brink of bankruptcy.
It’s still too early to see what this means for Legolands, but I’m hopeful that they’ll use this acquisition to enhance Legolands around the world, and rein them in to be more aligned with The LEGO Group’s priorities.
That said, I think it’s also a great decision as Legoland will now be run by a private company, as opposed to a publicly-listed one – this should hopefully translate into more long-term focus, instead of running the business quarter-to-quarter to appease shareholders. Kirkbi and Blackstone are flush with money, so again, this means more investment into Legolands.
Maybe, just maybe they’ll fully convert all the LEGO Shops attached to the Discovery Centres and Theme Parks to Official LEGO Store status!