Merlin Entertainments General Discussion

Talk about what is going on in the theme park and attraction industry in general.
User avatar
Dan
Member
Member
Posts: 2364
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:08 pm

PhNx Survivor wrote:So apparently Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Madame Tussauds have been brought out by a company called Blackstone for £5.9bn...

Is this right?
Not quite £5.9bn, but our article covering all the news surrounding this development can be found here.
Image
User avatar
AltonOperator
Member
Member
Posts: 367
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:46 pm
Location: Exactly 65.38 miles from Nemesis' entrance

I thought people were quite excited before I read this thread.
Firstly, Lego haven't bought merlin. Lego's parent company (which exists almost solely to serve Lego) have bought some more of Merlin. That's it.
I am confident in the future of the company. Lego have a great company ethos, which is certainly something Merlin would benefit from. Also they're interested in long term development, which is something that Merlin have lacked a little because of the need to please investors - this should hopefully be gone now as the company has been privatised.
Blackstone is still heavily involved so can still use their experience running companies like Merlin, SeaWorld and Center Parcs to help improve Merlin. SeaWorld are heavily investing in new rides every year and Merlin can too.
Image
Image
Thanks Jack
User avatar
PhNx Survivor
Member
Member
Posts: 433
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:03 am
Location: Derby

So just avoid any confusion, what exactly could this mean for Alton Towers and Thorpe just out of curiosity?

Do Merlin still own these sites or have they been sold off to Blackstone? Sorry I'm dumb :lol
“A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one”
User avatar
Swarm Chris
Member
Member
Posts: 1619
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:28 pm

PhNx Survivor wrote:So just avoid any confusion, what exactly could this mean for Alton Towers and Thorpe just out of curiosity?

Do Merlin still own these sites or have they been sold off to Blackstone? Sorry I'm dumb :lol
At the moment Merlin are still the same Merlin they were before this announcement. The proposed ownership change has not yet occurred and Merlin are still listed on the London Stock Exchange. Change of ownership is expected at roughly the end of the year.

The buyers have stated they intend to keep all UK operations open. The buyers have also said they view the purchase as a long term investment.

For Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and the other Resort parks, we could well see a shift in focus to ensuring the long term stability of these attractions. With the new owners only having to answer to themselves, decisions could be made more easily with goals other than maximising short term profit. For example, adding three new flat rides won't increase revenue in the short term, but in the long term it will help keep queues shorter across the park and give guests a better experience so they are more likely to feel good about the park and come back again.
User avatar
Dan
Member
Member
Posts: 2364
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:08 pm

Image

As reported on TowersTimes social media; Merlin Entertainments have announced the return of their partnership with Coca-Cola Great Britain which rewards guests who deposit their used 500ml plastic drinks bottles into a ‘reverse vending machine’ with a voucher to receive 50% off entry at 30 Merlin attractions.

Following the launch of the initiative in 2018, the machines will once again be available at Alton Towers, THORPE PARK Official, Chessington World of Adventures Resort and Official LEGOLAND Windsor, with Warwick Castle and Blackpool SEA LIFE centre joining the scheme for 2019. The machines will be available at the entrances of the four theme parks until 17th October 2019, and at Warwick Castle and Blackpool SEA LIFE centre until 31st March 2020.

Sandra Hazel, the Head of Force For Good at Merlin Entertainments, said: “We are delighted to extend this initiative after great success in 2019. We care about recycling and know that our customers do too. This partnership is a great way to work together to protect our planet and is just one of the initiatives we are invested in to increase recycling at our attractions.”
Image
User avatar
PhNx Survivor
Member
Member
Posts: 433
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:03 am
Location: Derby

Swarm Chris wrote:
PhNx Survivor wrote:So just avoid any confusion, what exactly could this mean for Alton Towers and Thorpe just out of curiosity?

Do Merlin still own these sites or have they been sold off to Blackstone? Sorry I'm dumb :lol
At the moment Merlin are still the same Merlin they were before this announcement. The proposed ownership change has not yet occurred and Merlin are still listed on the London Stock Exchange. Change of ownership is expected at roughly the end of the year.

The buyers have stated they intend to keep all UK operations open. The buyers have also said they view the purchase as a long term investment.

For Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and the other Resort parks, we could well see a shift in focus to ensuring the long term stability of these attractions. With the new owners only having to answer to themselves, decisions could be made more easily with goals other than maximising short term profit. For example, adding three new flat rides won't increase revenue in the short term, but in the long term it will help keep queues shorter across the park and give guests a better experience so they are more likely to feel good about the park and come back again.
Ah, well that's good then, thanks for clearing things up :)
“A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one”
User avatar
Swarm Chris
Member
Member
Posts: 1619
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:28 pm

A nice little video produced by Merlin for National Rollercoaster Day.
User avatar
GregH94
Member
Member
Posts: 67
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:07 pm

As of this Wednesday, the buyout is officially complete and Merlin goes back to being a private company, formally under new ownership. Let the speculations for the future commence 
User avatar
Swarm Chris
Member
Member
Posts: 1619
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:28 pm

This is correct and is a very big week for Merlin Entertainments.

As reported yesterday on TowersTimes social media, the final stages for Merlin Entertainments’ return to private ownership have got underway this week. Following a High Court agreement for the sale of the formerly publicly listed company to an investment group including LEGO owner Kirkbi, shares in Merlin Entertainments were earlier temporarily suspended from the London Stock Exchange on Monday.

It is expected that on Tuesday the process of purchasing all outstanding shares will commence, with final delisting occurring on Wednesday and the company then formally coming under new ownership.

It appears that LEGO are planning a 6 month intensive review of the company to determine how best the links between the LEGO brand and existing attractions can be bolstered. Whilst they were not explicit as to which parts of the operations would be looked at, I would expect this to be the already LEGO branded attractions rather than the other brands, which they have stated as also being important assets for the business in their own right.

The key term being used repeatedly from all of the senior executive interviews I've seen appears for the company to become the largest "location based entertainment" provider.
User avatar
Chris
Admin
Admin
Posts: 2606
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2003 8:38 pm
Location: London
Contact:

I just hope they prioritise quality over quantity though. There is only so much copy and paste of Madame Tussauds in every city in the world they can do.

Let's face it.. I bet very few people buy an Annual Pass to repeat visit a midway attraction alone.
User avatar
Swarm Chris
Member
Member
Posts: 1619
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:28 pm

Merlin are advertising for a new position, Head of Finance - New LEGOLAND Resort Development.

A key part of the description gives an insight into their strategy for the continual development of new LEGOLAND parks.
Reporting into the Senior Finance Director, you will be accountable for the financial strategy, stewardship and reporting for new LEGOLAND Resorts capital projects, covering circa 2-4 resort projects at various stages of development at any time, each typically circa $3-500m.
If they're expecting an ongoing 2-4 new developments, that's extremely rapid. Disney and Universal have been doing this a lot longer and their expansion rate is barely one park at a time. Leads me to think two immediate issues: draining of resources from existing parks; and over saturation of the LEGOLAND theme park market.

Everyone gets a LEGOLAND!, perhaps?
User avatar
Swarm Chris
Member
Member
Posts: 1619
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:28 pm

Whilst the entire planet is now increasing and practicing social distancing measures, Merlin Entertainments appear to be continuing to display what appears to me as arrogant contempt towards the global pandemic, and is intending on re-opening LEGOLAND Japan on Monday.
[Notice of some business resumption]
LEGOLAND Japan and Sea Life Nagoya were suspended until March 22 (Sun) to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus infectious disease, but decided to resume business from March 23 (Mon). We will let you know.
Source (in Japanese): LEGOLAND Japan.

Conversely, Tokyo Disney Resort and Universal Studios Japan are continuing to remain closed until at least April, with notes that this will be reviewed again.


Edit 23rd March:

Legoland Japan and the attached SeaLife did open. Despite continually growing cases in Japan, Merlin Entertainments proudly boasts via Legoland Japan's Twitter:
Today, LEGOLAND Japan and Sea Life Nagoya have reopened. Although the business will be partially modified, the staff will be operating with the utmost care to provide everyone with a fun time.
Edit 26th March:

Tokyo warns of rapid increase of infections likely and asks people to stay at home, Universal Japan extend closure until mid-April, whilst Merlin Entertainments operate LEGOLAND Japan and seem to have zero understanding of social distancing.

Image
User avatar
Dan
Member
Member
Posts: 2364
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:08 pm

As reported on TowersTimes social media; Merlin Entertainments has published its 2019 Annual Report and Accounts, along with additional information which provides an insight into the financial impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

TowersTimes News summarises some of the key points to emerge from this information.
Image
Post Reply