Blackstone-Backed Merlin: No IPO Plans

LONDON (Reuters) – Merlin Entertainments, the Blackstone-owned theme-park operator, said it had no near-term plans to go public, a day after Blackstone-backed Travelport scrapped its London listing, blaming market instability.

In October, a source familiar with the matter said Blackstone (BX.N) had called in Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, UBS and Nomura to advise on an initial public offering (IPO) that could value Merlin at about 2 billion pounds ($3.13 billion) and come early in 2010. [ID:nLO608720] “We continue to consider and debate the options for our future ownership structure. All options, including an IPO, remain under consideration, but we do not expect to reach any conclusion in the near future,” Merlin said in a statement on Thursday.

Merlin said it had hired Charles Gurassa, former group chief executive of TUI Group, as a senior independent director to strengthen its board.

(Reporting by Quentin Webb and Daisy Ku; Editing by Douwe Miedema)