LEGO Buys Back LEGOLAND, Kind Of

An interesting development occoured over the weekend with news that LEGO was buying back LEGOLAND.

What’s going on? Well a consortium on investment companies is buying Merlin Entertainments PLC – the company that currently owns and operates LEGOLAND and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre attractions around the world.

That may not sound like it involves LEGO but one part of the “consortium” is KIRKBI Invest A/S, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of KIRKBI A/S, the ultimate owner of the LEGO brand.

legoland-kirkbi

It’s all very confusing if you aren’t a corporate lawyer and what impact this will have on the parks is still a lot of guesswork. I think it’s a fair assumption to make that LEGO wouldn’t be getting involved in a deal for LEGOLAND if they weren’t interested in having a say over the direction of the parks.

The other parties in the consortium don’t seem like they’d have a lot of interest in the day to day stuff of LEGOLAND. They comprise of Blackstone and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

Obviously the Merlin Entertainment PLC company owns more than just the LEGOLAND attractions. Merlin operates over 130 attractions, 19 hotels and seven holiday villages in 25 countries and across four continents. LEGO now kind of owns the Sydney Aquarium for example.

I think this is one that we will all need to watch closely.

2 Responses to LEGO Buys Back LEGOLAND, Kind Of

  1. Sebastian Jedzini says:

    Perhaps I can provide some extra details as a Dane living in Australia and also of course a big fan of LEGO and of your site – in Denmark this is big news and something the danish media have described in details.

    Lego sold LEGOLAND back in 2005 because of financial issues but got 30% of the stocks in Merlin Entertainment as a part of the deal – they are now buying the rest of the stocks together with the group of investors in order to control LEGOLAND again (and the rest of Merlin Entertainment). The owners behind lego is the Kirk family and they own KIRKBI A/S which is basically just a Holding Company that owns LEGO and now also LEGOLAND via the other holding ccompany that LEGO owns 50 % of so in total they now have more than 50% of the stocks and thereby control Merlin Entertainment – the other investors involved is only to give the capital for expansion and of course give their investors a good return on investment.

    The question is if this in any way will affect us as lego fans and I would say YES – but only positive. LEGO has bought back LEGOLAND in order to control the brand LEGO and it would be hard not to assume that they will use all the other parks, hotels etc. to expand their sales and the knowledge of the brand e.g. is Merlin Entertainment also the owner of the London Eye – perhaps LEGO can use this for a new special model of it? But this is only guess work (and me dreaming) ;-)

    The investor group claim they are ready to expand with more LEGO-parks around the world, so my guess is that we will see an increase in LEGOLAND’s around the world the next 5-10 years, especially in China and other Asian countries.

    If anyone here would like to read an article in Danish from the danish version of ABC here is a link:
    https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/penge/gigantisk-milliardhandel-lego-familien-vil-koebe-legoland-tilbage

    • Terence says:

      Thank you Sebastian for your elaboration there! Interesting trivia like the London Eye, would be a good idea :)

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