Merlin Entertainments, the owner of Legoland and Madame Tussauds, is to be bought by LEGO for 4.8 billion pounds.
The Danish billionaire family controlling much of the LEGO toy company, through Kirkbi Invest, put in a bid that Merlin has agreed. Merlin also owns the London Eye, Alton Towers and Chessington Adventures. Kirkbi already has one-third of the Merlin shares.
Soren Thorup Sorensen, CEO at Kirkbi, said that the intention was for Merlin to 'reach its full potential, which we believe is best pursued through private ownership.'
He said that his company had a 'shared understanding of the business and its culture' and that his group of investors 'has the unique collective resources necessary to equip Merlin for its next phase of growth.'
Merlin is number two in the world in terms of size of visitor attractions, with 130 venues in 25 countries. Only a few weeks ago, shareholder ValueAct Capital, with 9.3 per cent of the equity in Merlin, called for it to seek a private buyer. Merlin only listed on the London Stock Exchange six years ago. The price, at 455p per share puts Merlin's value at £4.77bn.