Nov 8 - One of the world's largest operators of visitor attractions, Merlin Entertainments, has made its debut on the London Stock Exchange, pricing its shares at 315p each. Hayley Platt reports.
315 pence is today's daily digit - the amount shares of Merlin Entertainments began trading on the London Stock Exchange. It values the group, which operates the London Eye among other attractions, at 3.2 billion pounds. Demand was so strong Merlin was forced to close the offering early. The group which owns the world famous Madame Tussauds waxwork museum among other attractions, said the majority of shares went to institutional investors, with individual investors taking around 12 percent. The sale raised over 950 million pounds or 30 percent of the company. It's estimated part of the money will be used to pay down debt, the rest will allow its existing investors to cash out. Merlin is the world's second largest operator of visitor attractions after Disney. It's planning to expand its operations in the U.S. and China next year, adding hotels to its complex of entertainment parks. It's also building a Legoland theme park in Dubai and is eyeing potential sites in Japan and South Korea too.