Merlin Potential Takeover via LEGO | Inside Universal Forums
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Merlin Potential Takeover via LEGO

Scott W.

Premium Member
Feb 26, 2014
12,585
Glasgow
This is an interesting development.

I've always wondered how much more business, Legoland would do if it was in Orlando and would that ever justify moving.
 

GAcoaster

V.I.P.
Nov 30, 2012
3,829
Orlando
The interesting thing to me with this is they're plan to take it private. That's the best thing for a theme park company rather than being driven by investors pushing for higher profits and lower costs. There's plenty of profit to be made from any theme park company being run properly without having to keep cutting costs and raising price just for "shareholder value". I wish SeaWorld would do the same...
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
18,602
Pittsburgh area
The interesting thing to me with this is they're plan to take it private. That's the best thing for a theme park company rather than being driven by investors pushing for higher profits and lower costs. There's plenty of profit to be made from any theme park company being run properly without having to keep cutting costs and raising price just for "shareholder value". I wish SeaWorld would do the same...
But....by including Blackstone as investors, they'll have seats on the Board. And Blackstone's history with everything they've ever had their hands on, majority or minority ownership , is cut cut cut and maximize profits.
 

s8film40

Veteran Member
Apr 18, 2013
3,458
But....by including Blackstone as investors, they'll have seats on the Board. And Blackstone's history with everything they've ever had their hands on, majority or minority ownership , is cut cut cut and maximize profits.
What I want to know is what role Lego and Blackstone are each taking on. I've heard from other members here with experience from other Merlin parks that they're not that great and the Legoland parks are only good because the Lego company holds them to certain standards. So with Lego taking on more ownership of the parks this seems like it could be a good thing, especially if Blackstone is entering as a money/investment partner and letting Lego control things. It would also be interesting to know what percentage each company is going to own.

Edit: I should have read the article in the link first, apparently it's an even 50/50 split. So that seems really good. Blackstone has no more control over it than Lego and likely Lego still holds the licensing agreements which probably tips the scale in their favor for any decisions.
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
18,602
Pittsburgh area
What I want to know is what role Lego and Blackstone are each taking on. I've heard from other members here with experience from other Merlin parks that they're not that great and the Legoland parks are only good because the Lego company holds them to certain standards. So with Lego taking on more ownership of the parks this seems like it could be a good thing, especially if Blackstone is entering as a money/investment partner and letting Lego control things. It would also be interesting to know what percentage each company is going to own.

Edit: I should have read the article in the link first, apparently it's an even 50/50 split. So that seems really good. Blackstone has no more control over it than Lego and likely Lego still holds the licensing agreements which probably tips the scale in their favor for any decisions.
Blackstone still is a shady partner due to their corporate philosophy. They had a similar agreement with NBC/Universal and those were some dark days for Universal. And, they still kept a heavy hand in Sea World's affairs even when they weren't a majority stockholder once SW went public. Blackstone is toxic with everything they've ever been involved with, whether majority or just significant ownership. If they're 50/50 the board will still have a strong & significant Blackstone representation.
 

s8film40

Veteran Member
Apr 18, 2013
3,458
Blackstone still is a shady partner due to their corporate philosophy. They had a similar agreement with NBC/Universal and those were some dark days for Universal. And, they still kept a heavy hand in Sea World's affairs even when they weren't a majority stockholder once SW went public. Blackstone is toxic with everything they've ever been involved with, whether majority or just significant ownership. If they're 50/50 the board will still have a strong & significant Blackstone representation.
I guess part of what I’m wondering is if they may have divided interests and are going into this that way. I could see Blackstone being interested in all the other Merlin parks while LEGO really only having interest in Legoland. Perhaps even splitting the company up after a period of time.
 
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Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
18,602
Pittsburgh area
I guess part of what I’m wondering is if they may have divided interests and are going into this that way. I could see Blackstone being interested in all the other Merlin parks while LEGO really only having interest in Legoland. Perhaps even splitting the company up after a period of time.
Yes. I would imagine Blackstone has already studied the Merlin parks etc. spreadsheets and identified areas/personnel where they can cut costs and accentuate profit. Private equity firms, and even the ones with a middlin reputation and Blackstone is not one of those 'middlin guys', by their very nature, get into ventures to make a quick short term profit for their equity investors. And they're never satisfied with 3 or 4 % returns on investment. They will suck out every ounce of profit they can. As you said, Lego may be primarily interested in the Lego branding, and perhaps spreading their market. Blackstone just wants quick profits and turnaround so they can sell out in a few years.
 
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GadgetGuru

Premium Member
Dec 2, 2011
2,354
Seattle, WA
If LEGO buys the chain, it’s to maximize the Legoland chain.

I would expect every park in Merlin’s chain to take the Legoland name. Hello Legoland Towers. Madame Tussad’s would start adding LEGO statues of celebrities instead of wax.
 

GAcoaster

V.I.P.
Nov 30, 2012
3,829
Orlando
I don't think so. I could see them all adding Lego elements (maybe branding kids sections as Lego) but not whole parks unless they are looking to REALLY expand the brand. Tussaud's and some of their other brands are known quantities and do relatively well on their own (or they wouldn't keep opening them).