Legoland

Legoland Florida Resort in Winter Haven is owned by Merlin Entertainment, which Berkley Bidco Limited announced its intention to purchase last week.

WINTER HAVEN – Legoland Florida Resort staff will still have a job and job benefits will remain the same if a recently proposed purchase offer is finalized.

A group of investors that owned around 30 percent of Merlin Entertainment, the current Legoland owner, recently offered to purchase more shares and become the majority shareholder.

The group of investors, which includes the Danish family behind the Lego empire, created a corporation called Berkley Bidco Limited to purchase Merlin Entertainment.

“(Bidco) greatly values the skills, knowledge and expertise of Merlin's existing management and employees,” according to a press release. “It does not expect to make any material change to the continued employment of the employees and management, nor to initiate any material headcount reductions.”

Merlin Entertainment board chair Sir John Sunderland said the board will likely accept the offer. If the sale goes through, Merlin Entertainment would cease to exist.

Merlin Entertainment owns and operates 130 attractions worldwide, 19 hotels and seven holiday villages in 25 countries on four continents. Around 67 million people use these facilities annually.

According to a press release, the sale is necessary to expand the brand on a global level.

“Following an unsolicited approach by a consortium of investors, and after rejecting a number of their proposals, the board believes this offer represents an opportunity for Merlin shareholders to realize value for their investment in cash at an attractive valuation. We are therefore unanimously recommending it to our shareholders.”

The business transaction may be complete by the end of the year, according to one of the investor documents associated with the proposal.

According to the Associated Press, the value of the sale is $6 billion.

Legoland Florida Resort in Winter Haven opened in 2011, the second Legoland park in the United States. The original Legoland was built in Denmark in 1968.

Merlin Entertainment has owned the brand since 2005.

Contact Charles A. Baker III at cbaker@d-r.media.

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