Private backers offload 100 million Merlin shares

Merlin EntertainmentsPrivate equity backers Blackstone Group and CVC Capital Partners are offloading 100 million shares in Merlin Entertainments.

The shares represent approximately £365 million based on the current trading prices, which equates to approximately 10% of the company at present.

The sale is strictly ‘placing’ in financial terms, a phrase used when shares are sold to sponsors or brokers private clients and/or a narrow group of investors.

It is understood that the buyers are Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank.

Blackstone and CVC had been Merlin’s biggest stakeholders during its rapid rise as a private company following the acquisition of the Tussauds Group and its theme parks in 2007.

Merlin floated on the stock market late last year to considerable fanfare, but its share price has remained largely static since.

The majority analysts identify the company as a worthwhile investment at current prices, although some have labelled the share price as ‘neutral’ or ‘overweight’.