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Merlin snaps up Living and Leisure Australia
Global leisure operator Merlin Entertainments has launched a $140 million bid for the Living and Leisure Australia Group (LLA), the owner of the Melbourne Aquarium, Underwater World Mooloolaba and the Victorian ski resorts of Hotham and Falls Creek.
LLA Directors have advised that they support the cash offer from Merlin's Australian subsidiary, subject to an independent expert's report and in the absence of a superior proposal.
The offer price of 5.14 cents per Living and Leisure stapled security represents a 157% premium to their last closing price before the bid was made.
Merlin, which owns the global Madame Tussauds and Eye brands owns the Sydney Aquarium, Oceanworld Manly and recently rebranded WildLife Sydney, Sydney Tower Eye and Skywalk. Its existing Australian attractions were acquired from Village Roadshow.
LLA also owns assets in Asia, including Siam Ocean World in Bangkok, Shanghai Chang Feng Ocean World in China and Busan Aquarium in South Korea.
Chief Executive Nick Varney said the acquisition would increase Merlin's exposure to Asia and Australia, stating "completion of this deal, together with our existing ongoing development, would represent an important step in our growth strategy for the region."
"Merlin has a strong track record of growing the assets it buys. The acquisition of LLA would open up new markets to us and facilitate the continuing rollout of Sea Life, Madame Tussauds, Eye and Legoland brands in (the) Asia Pacific Group region, complementing our existing strength in Western Europe and North America.
"Merlin has a strong track record of growing the assets it buys. The acquisition of LLA would open up new markets to us and facilitate the continuing rollout of Sea Life, Madame Tussauds, Eye and Legoland brands in (the) Asia Pacific Group region, complementing our existing strength in Western Europe and North America."
Merlin plan to open Madame Tussauds Sydney next year.
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