Madame Tussauds owner eyes float ahead of strong results

MERLIN Entertainments, the owner of the London Eye and Madame Tussauds, is due to reveal strong growth when its results are released on Wednesday – paving the way for a potential market listing.

The private equity-owned theme park operator is set to tell analysts that it saw strong revenue and profit growth during 2012, as the company weighs up whether to float at the end of this year. Merlin abandoned a previous IPO attempt in 2010 due to market volatility, with majority owner Blackstone instead selling a stake to CVC Capital Partners in a deal that valued the business at over £2bn.

Since then the company has continued to perform well and investor appetite for new listings has returned, raising the possibility of a £3bn-plus IPO valuation that would catapult the Alton Towers owner into the FTSE 100 if it chooses to list in London.

Merlin has benefited from its decision to expand outside the UK and Europe, opening Legolands and Sea Life centres across Asia and North America.

Kirkbi, the family trust set up by the founders of Lego, also has a stake in the business.