Blackstone and CVC-backed group Merlin Entertainments is reportedly preparing for an IPO in either London or New York and is already in talks with potential investors.
The company, which owns Madame Tussauds, Alton Towers, the Legoland franchise and the London Dungeons, aims to use the IPO proceeds to reduce its £1.27bn debt pile and fund its plans to expand into the US and Asia, chief executive Nick Varney told Reuters.
He added that Merlin plans to reduce its leverage – or the debt to earnings ratio – to three times its current EBITDA from the current multiple of 3.6 times.
Varney has previously told the FT that the company planned to go public in 2013 or 2014.
Last year Merlin saw revenues rise £15.4 per cent from the previous year to top £1bn, while operating profits surged 16.5 per cent to £258m.
The company initially planned to go public in 2010, but changed its mind due to jittery stock markets, which have since regained confidence as evidenced by the recent surge of IPOs including the flotation of esure earlier this month.
Private equity firm Apax partners created Merlin by backing a £57m management buyout of Vardon Attractions in 1998 with Varney, Andrew Carr and the senior management team at the time.
Hermes Private Equity bought the company for £72.5m in 2004 before selling it to Blackstone for £102.5m a year later.
Blackstone has since sold stakes to Dubai International Capital, CVC Capital Partners and KIRKBI, the Danish family trust which owns Lego.
Copyright © 2013 AltAssets