Jump to content
RobF

Merlin Entertainments

Recommended Posts

I think taking it at face value - 'offer accepted for Merlin to be bought' or similar - is perhaps misleading. As others have said, it is a case of existing shareholders buying more shares so they have the majority stake. Arguably the biggest and most important outcome of this is that Merlin are going back to being a private company rather than a public company. Of course the biggest problem with being a public company is that you have to answer to people who simply want profit: in their eyes, if something won't make profit, why should money be spent on it? A private company will have a more sensible outlook.

 

Kirkby have said they've no plans to sell anything within Merlin and that there won't be substantial changes. It'll likely just be a different decision making process towards how to spend money. It'll be interesting to see if there's any changes to the hierarchy, be that by adding an extra layer (hopefully not..), a reshuffle/change of the top layer, or what. 

 

Not that this should need saying, but this obviously doesn't mean a switch is going to flicked and we're going to see huge investments every year at every park. However, I'd expect that if there's a different outlook and different decision making process, there might be more opportunities for money to be invested..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hopefully Merlin ditch the short term profit making for long term prosperity. Surely after seeing what Europa Park are building, big new attractions when done right bring in the visitors. They can charge a premium, because the quality matches the price and the demand is there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Stuntman707 said:

Hopefully Merlin ditch the short term profit making for long term prosperity. Surely after seeing what Europa Park are building, big new attractions when done right bring in the visitors. They can charge a premium, because the quality matches the price and the demand is there.

Tbf Merlin will have always been aware of what Europa Park are doing and their insane levels of quality. It's not something they've done overnight, it's been something which has happened over the past 20-25 years, at great levels of risk. If Blue Fire hadn't been as well-received as it was in industry, things may have taken a turn for the worse from what I've heard.

 

Merlin will never be able to match Europa in any way, shape or form. Very few parks can or will. And that's fine. Just as long as no one is thinking that Merlin parks can magically fight the quality of Europa after one visit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, JoshC. said:

It's not something they've done overnight, it's been something which has happened over the past 20-25 years, at great levels of risk. If Blue Fire hadn't been as well-received as it was in industry, things may have taken a turn for the worse from what I've heard.

Europa was still a great park and much better (in terms of value for money) even before Blue Fire opened, and Merlin have made many more mistakes on big projects than taking a risk on just one coaster, so I dont really buy that. All successes come with taking risk anyway, and Europa have an excellent track record of taking those risks and making successes.

But I totally agree Europa has built their success over a long period of time. I think theyre a real beacon of the value in developing your park long term and making a success of it at every step. While Merlin are a clear example of how parks can be squandered by constant short term time and cost decisions.

I'm really pleased with the news although it certainly doesnt automatically mean any big change or improvement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Mysta Ghoul said:

Europa was still a great park and much better (in terms of value for money) even before Blue Fire opened, and Merlin have made many more mistakes on big projects than taking a risk on just one coaster, so I dont really buy that. All successes come with taking risk anyway, and Europa have an excellent track record of taking those risks and making successes.

I can't seem to find where I saw this (I may have simply been told it verbally by someone who I found trustworthy so I always believed it), so take with a pinch of salt: despite Europa's and Mack's success, the company saw the development of a launch coaster as a huge make or break moment. They needed something new, fearing that as a manufacturer they would be left behind in the industry. And if this something new different work at Europa, it could hamper the development of the park in the long term, as well as damage the reputation. It was perhaps too fearful from them, but they certainly felt that if Blue Fire didn't work, it would have lead to a slump for them.

 

As I say, feel free to take it with a pinch of salt. I get one guy saying one thing on the internet has little value, but I've never had any reason to doubt the story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that is right Josh, for Mack the success of Blue Fire propelled them back into the industry eye, where the up and coming Gerstlauer and Maurer were sneaking into their turf...

 

Think about the Mack installations prior and post Blue Fire... It's an amazing difference, and something we're now seeing Vekoma catch into...

 

 

Regarding Merlin, no point breaking out the bunting until things REALLY start changing... Investment needs to be intelligent, and not wasting money on crap that ends up mothballed or shut in 2/3 years... Hopefully the change to private company will be a major factor in this...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Certainly an interesting buyout, however given the current tie-ins with these companies and higher management expected to remain similar, the changes may not be too drastic. 

 

I'm sure there will be complaints though regardless of what direction the parks take now. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/28/2019 at 2:23 PM, JoshC. said:

As I say, feel free to take it with a pinch of salt. I get one guy saying one thing on the internet has little value, but I've never had any reason to doubt the story.

To be honest even without having been told that story, it sounds as if it were true anyway if you look at the way the industry was changing and needing a new product on the scene. So I totally get it, it was a big risk but the important thing is it paid off. EP really benefitted because of it

Merlin hardly ever take creative risks like that, and the premature public float meant they never could again, I'd argue it has played a factor in their stagnation. The only risk I will credit them with is DBGT, which was a disaster. Can you imagine if Europa-Park had done the same ride, it would have been done very differently and most likely a lot more popular.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not strictly a Merlin thing, but I have a point.

 

With the extreme heat all around Europe, parks have added extra effects to some of their water rides to make them extra wet. Examples:

 

Constant water jets on Hellendoorn's (Netherlands) rapids 

 

Constant hose pipe pointed at the course on Walibi Holland's splash battle

 

Waterfall effect which normally turns off remains on on Toverland's rapids. 

 

And plenty of parks are happily allow staff to spray staff with water guns / pipes on water rides.

 

And of course, plenty of modern water rides have been built so that their splashes can be adjusted according to the weather, meaning that parks can have them on maximum wetness.

 

 

It's a shame that Merlin parks / the wider UK industry don't do these things. Yes, there's the safety fears and such, but it feels stifling. And, more generally, UK parks are way behind on the water ride front. When was the last time a UK park added a new water ride? Aside from a couple of very small travelling log flumes at small parks, it's probably Storm Surge in 2011? It's crazy.

 

Sure, the hot weather is not the norm, but the parks aren't in a position to cope when it does arrive. And modern water rides can be modified for all weather conditions.

 

It's a shame.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think European park guests typically enjoy water rides more, but more importantly have a better understanding of park rules and safety, which is why the U.K. has such stringent rules especially of late. 

 

I think most of the UK industry is arguably behind a lot of other countries when it comes to park progression. Not just the big things, but the little things too such as theming, immersion and even basic customer service. We’ve only recently had our first GCI/wooden coaster in 20+ years and I think we will be waiting at least another five before we ever see an RMC. If we even ever get one!

 

Paultons is currently the most likely U.K. park to invest in a water ride that actually gets you wet but we shall see. We have seen at least three major water rides close in the U.K. in recent years, not including the ones in Blackpool, Pleasureland or Adventure Island.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/24/2019 at 7:17 PM, Glitch said:

The heatwave also plays a major role to declining midway attendances within cities. 

 

Aah, that’s taken me back to the days of the original London Dungeons, and how hot it was in there even without a heatwave! 🥵

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Merlin has once again blamed bad weather for poor performance financially and also stated that the Lego movie 2 failed to boost revenue as was seen with the first film.

 

Profits fell to £34m for the group while sales grew by 8.1%. one day they might see the current approach doesn't work...

 

Unfortunately a consequence of them going private is that figures like these will stop being published. 

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49189375

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Merlin have only singled out bad weather for poor performance in the American Legoland parks, as opposed to a global thing. In fact, they've said that the weather actually was a contributing factor for good performance at the theme parks.

 

Hoping that the second Lego movie would see a significant boost in Legoland performances was optimistic in my opinion. Lightning rarely strikes twice for these things. In terms of films, I do think the Lego brand is becoming a bit tired and saturated. Steering away from film and keeping key focus on the product itself might be beneficial. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Debated about where to put this, but here seems good for now.

 

A new Legoland park will open in Sichuan, China in 2023:

 

It's hardly a surprise that Merlin are doing this, what with the rapidly growing (perhaps unsustainably so?) theme park market in China, with Disney already there, and Universal and Six Flags getting in on the action too.

 

This has been in the works for a LONG time, and there were rumours that they were looking at a more southern location too. Sichuan is more centrally located in China, and it's fair to say it's further away from foreign tourist sites (which is more Beijing, Shanghai and southern China), so I'd guess they're doing this to try and really tap into the Chinese audience. The only other major park in that area is Happy Valley Chengdu, which has a heavy thrill focus. So a Legoland / family park in that area could be quite successful.

 

There's questions as to whether Merlin should still be expanding of course, and when you look at their recent investor reports, it seems like they're cooling off China a bit. However, it's no secret that Merlin loves expanding their portfolio, so this was always a case of when, not if, it was going to happen. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In case you're unaware but Merlin Entertainments has officially been taken off the LSE. 

The June recommendation of Kirkbi, CPP Investment Board and The Blackstone Group to take over the company in a £4.8 billion takeover bid was officially approved by the High Court this month.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...