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Clifford Chance advises KIRKBI and the Consortium consisting of KIRKBI, Blackstone and CPPIB on £4.77 billion take private of Merlin Entertainments plc

28 June 2019

Clifford Chance advises KIRKBI and the Consortium consisting of KIRKBI, Blackstone and CPPIB on £4.77 billion take private of Merlin Entertainments plc

International law firm Clifford Chance is advising both its long-standing client KIRKBI and the Consortium consisting of KIRKBI, Blackstone and CPPIB on that Consortium's recommended offer for Merlin Entertainments plc. The all-cash offer values Merlin, Europe's Number 1 and the world's second-largest visitor's attractions operator, at £4.77 billion.

KIRKBI, the ultimate owner of LEGO Group, is the largest shareholder (50%) in the Consortium and currently a 29.58% shareholder in Merlin. It is the holding and investment company of the Kirk Kristiansen family, founded to promote a sustainable future for the family ownership of the LEGO® brand through generations. KIRKBI has maintained a significant strategic shareholding in Merlin since the sale of LEGOLAND® Parks to Merlin in 2005. KIRKBI and Blackstone jointly controlled Merlin in the 8 years prior to the company's 2013 London listing, on which Clifford Chance also advised KIRKBI.

Merlin now operates over 130 attractions, 20 hotels and 6 holiday villages in 25 countries and across 4 continents including eight LEGOLAND® Parks. Merlin's purpose is to deliver memorable experiences to 67 million guests around the world, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its c.28,000 employees.

The Clifford Chance team was led by London Corporate Partners Steven Fox and Tim Lewis with private equity partner Simon Tinkler alongside senior associate Mary Bartle (M&A) and associates Olivia Higgs (M&A), Shimin Lee (PE), Tim Little (M&A) and Calvin Yang (PE). Partner Alex Nourry is leading the Clifford Chance antitrust team comprising senior associate Chandralekha Ghosh and associate Sabra Ferhat. Partners Nick Kinnersley and Peter Dahlen are advising on finance aspects. Partner Sonia Gilbert is providing incentives advice and partner Chinwe Odimba-Chapman and senior associate Francesca Baker are providing employment advice. Partner Matt Taylor is advising on real estate and partner Clare Hoxey and senior associate Matthew Preston are advising on the pensions aspects of the transaction.