Blackstone to buy Tussauds for $1.9 bln
Private equity firm Blackstone Group is buying the owner of Madame Tussauds waxworks museums for about 1 billion pounds ($1.9 billion) cash, creating the world’s second-biggest theme park group behind Walt Disney Co.
The deal, announced would combine Tussauds, one of London’s biggest tourist attractions, Sea Life aquariums and the London Eye Ferris wheel with Blackstone-owned Legoland and Gardaland theme parks, which are held in its Merlin Entertainments Group.
The newly enlarged tourist attraction group plans to accelerate expansion, particularly in North America, with a Legoland in the Kansas City area and a Sea Life in California already in the works.
Tussauds is also planning to open waxworks museums, home to lifelike recreations of the world’s biggest celebrities ranging from Queen Elizabeth to Brad Pitt, in Washington this year and in Hollywood in 2008.
The group is planning to spend between 60 million and 90 million euros ($78.8-$118.2 million) each year to roll out about four or five attractions, he added, to exploit the brands and marketing before an eventual IPO.
Tussauds was sold by Pearson Plc, the world’s biggest educational publisher, in 1998 to Charterhouse Capital Partners for about 350 million pounds. The Tussauds group also operates the Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures theme parks in Britain. reuters