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Lego and Blackstone team up to buy Madame Tussauds operator

The owners of toy maker Lego are teaming up with a group of investors to buy Merlin Entertainment, a British company that operates theme parks like Legoland and the Madame Tussauds wax museums.

Kirkbi Invest said Friday it is joining forces with private equity firm Blackstone and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to offer 60 cents per share for Merlin, valuing it at $6 billion.

Merlin runs eight Legoland parks and 20 Legoland Discovery Centers, as well as other sites like Madame Tussauds museums across the world. It estimates that about 67 million people visit its sites every year.

Re-making Lego

The investors will create a company that will own 50% of Merlin. Kirkbi already owns a stake of nearly 30%.

Merlin said it accepted the deal. Its share price jumped 14%.

Lego sold the Legoland parks to Merlin in 2005. The first Legoland opened in 1968 near the Lego company headquarters in western Denmark.

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