Merlin Entertainments

Overview

Merlin Entertainments Ltd is a global leader in location-based, family entertainment. As Europe’s largest and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator by attendance, Merlin now operates over 130 attractions, 20 hotels and 6 holiday villages with more than 4,000 rooms in 25 countries across 4 continents.

In June 2019, the company agreed to be acquired for USD 7.6 billion (GBP 6 billion) by Berkeley Bidco Ltd., a new company jointly owned by Kirkbi A/S and Blackstone Core Equity Partners. Following the acquisition, it was delisted from London Stock Exchange in November 2019. Under the new ownership, Kirkbi controls 50% of Merlin ownership, while Blackstone and Canadian pension fund CPPIB owns the remainder.

The majority of the company’s portfolio consists of over 110 indoor ‘Midway’ branded attractions, which are smaller scale and have a short length of stay compared to theme parks. Well-known examples include Madame Tussauds wax museums, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre attractions, SEA LIFE aquariums, The Dungeons interactive history exhibits, and the London Eye, Blackpool Tower Eye, and Sydney Tower Eye observation attractions.

In addition, Merlin owns and operates 10 LEGOLAND theme parks worldwide in 8 countries and 6 other individually branded resort theme parks. The LEGOLAND Park Operating Group constitutes 38% of Merlin revenues and received over 15.8 million guests (as of 2019). In recent years, Merlin has focused on China for the development of new LEGOLAND parks, with 4 new parks already announced and underway.

Over the years, Merlin has actively licensed leading IPs for its attractions, most notably the long-term, multi-product partnership with the LEGO Group. It also has local and global IP partnerships with DreamWorks (Comcast), BBC Studios (CBeebie), Bear Grylls, Marvel, and Sony Pictures Entertainment. Most recently, Merlin entered a multi-territory partnership with Entertainment One (acquired by Hasbro) to license the Peppa Pig brand for location-based entertainment attractions including new second gate park in Orlando and upcoming LEGOLAND in Chengdu, China.

Key facts:

  • 16
    theme parks owned
  • 16
    theme parks operated

Product type

Regional ride parks, children’s/specialty parks

Market locations

Worldwide, across 4 continents

Estimated Park Investment

USD 400 million to 500+ million

Strategy

  • Invest in and upgrade existing parks
  • Develop theme parks into resort destinations
  • Open new LEGOLAND Parks

Theme Park Locations

Existing locations

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Existing Theme Parks

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Licensed Theme Parks

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Pipeline Projects

Current Theme Parks

LEGOLAND Billund

  • Location

    Billund, Denmark

  • Opening Year

    1968

  • Peak Price

    DKK 429

LEGOLAND Windsor

  • Location

    Windsor, UK

  • Opening Year

    1996

  • Peak Price

    GBP 58

LEGOLAND California

  • Location

    San Diego, California, USA

  • Opening Year

    1999

  • Peak Price

    USD 115

LEGOLAND Deutschland

  • Location

    G├╝nzburg, Germany

  • Location

    2002

  • Peak Price

    EUR 50

LEGOLAND Florida

  • Location

    Winter Haven, Florida, USA

  • Opening Year

    2011

  • Peak Price

    USD 105

LEGOLAND Malaysia

  • Loction

    Nusajaya, Johor, Malaysia

  • Opening Year

    2012

  • Peak Price

    MYR 189

LEGOLAND Dubai

  • Location

    Dubai, UAE

  • Opening Year

    2016

  • Peak Price

    AED 275

LEGOLAND Nagoya

  • Location

    Nagoya, Japan

  • Opening Year

    2017

  • Peak Price

    JPY 7,100

Warwick Castle

  • Location

    Warwick, UK

  • Peak Price

    GBP 22

Alton Towers

  • Location

    Alton, UK

  • Opening Year

    1980

  • Peak Price

    GBP 53

Gardaland Resort

  • Location

    Castelnuovo del Garda, Italy

  • Opening Year

    1975

  • Peak Price

    EUR 42

Heide Park

  • Location

    Soltau, Germany

  • Opening Year

    1978

  • Peak Price

    EUR 44

Thorpe Park Resort

  • Location

    Chertsey, UK

  • Opening Year

    1979

  • Peak Price

    GBP 50

Chessington World of Adventure

  • Location

    Chessington, UK

  • Opening Year

    1987

  • Peak Price

    GBP 48

LEGOLAND New York

  • Location

    Goshen, New York, USA

  • Opening Year

    2021

  • Peak Price

    USD 90

LEGOLAND Korea

  • Location

    Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do, South Korea

  • Opening Year

    2022

  • Peak Price

    KRW 57,000

Notable Intellectual Property

New and pipeline projects