Merlin spells out future IPO on FTSE100

MADAME Tussauds owner Merlin Entertainment Group is in the last stages of planning a &pound;2bn main market listing.<br /><br />JP Morgan Cazenove, Deutsche Bank, BNP Parabis, Citi and Merrill Lynch are all believed to be vying for the position of bookrunner.<br /><br />The string of banks are now just waiting for a decision by Merlin and its private equity owner Blackstone.<br /><br />It is believed a listing of the world&rsquo;s second biggest entertainment group could be worth from &pound;1.75bn to more than &pound;2bn. And if private equity owner&nbsp; Blackstone were to include resorts group Center Parcs in the listing, which it bought back in 2006, it is thought it will guarantee a FTSE 100 entrance.<br /><br />In 2008 Merlin made &pound;662m in revenues, bolstered by 2007&rsquo;s acquisition of the Tussauds Group, which owned theme park Alton Towers, as well as the waxwork firm.<br /><br />Although its debt now stands at &pound;1bn, the size of the company means it is not as overburdened as some of its peers, but it will need to reduce its debt ahead of a listing.<br /><br />For this reason big hitters Citi and Goldman have already been tipped as favourites, for their ability to refinance the debt mountain.