Merlin Entertainments rallies after IPO


graph_positive_170sqShares in Merlin Entertainments rallied this morning after the private equity-backed owner of Legoland and Madame Tussauds was floated at a price of 315 pence per share.

Merlin topped 350 pence before retreating to around 340 pence per share in early trade, giving it a market cap of around £3.45bn.

The company floated a 30 per cent stake after initially planning to sell a 20 per cent interest. Institutional investors subscribed for 87.5 per cent of the shares with the rest bought by individual investors and Merlin received proceeds of £165m.

Last year Merlin saw revenues rise 15.4 per cent to over £1bn, while operating profits increased 16.5 per cent to £258m.

Private equity firm Apax partners created Merlin by backing a £57m management buyout of Vardon Attractions in 1998.

Hermes Private Equity bought the company for £72.5m in 2004 before selling it to Blackstone for £102.5m a year later.

Dubai International Capital, CVC Capital Partners and Danish family trust Kirkbi have since bought stakes in the business.

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