Merlin set to purchase Australian leisure group

Merlin Entertainments is poised to complete a reported AUS $244 million (£156m) takeover of the Living and Leisure Australia Group (LLA) company.

As recently reported, Merlin had secured around £200m in loans to fund a forthcoming acquisition.

There are conflicting reports that the acquisition will cost much less, putting the figure at £90m.

According to several local newspapers, LLA directors have backed the offer of a takeover and have encouraged their sharehoklders to accept the bid – which seems certain to go ahead.

The group owns a number of aquariums in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as ski resorts and outdoor adventure activity centres in Australia.

Merlin CEO Nick Varney said: “Completion of this deal, together with our existing ongoing development, would represent an important step in our growth strategy for the region.

“The acquisition of LLA would open up new markets to us and facilitate the continuing roll out of the Sea Life, Madame Tussauds, Eye and Legoland brands in the Asia-Pacific region.”