Legoland owner sets its sights on UStheme parks

Blackstone, the private equity owner of Legoland and Madame Tussauds, is nearing a deal to snap up two of America&rsquo;s famed theme parks for up to $3bn (&pound;1.8bn).<br /><br />The US attractions SeaWorld and Busch Gardens are being sold off by brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, which is dumping non-core assets to help pay for its $52bn (&pound;32.6bn) merger last year. <br /><br />Blackstone already controls Merlin Entertainment and experts suggest a deal to buy Busch could pave the way for a flotation of Merlin. Blackstone also holds a 50 per cent stake in Universal Orlando theme parks. <br /><br />The deal will see Blackstone pay roughly $2.5bn to $3bn for the parks &ndash; marking the largest US private equity deal so far this year at a time when activity in the industry has started to revive.