Ashurst scores Legoland acquisition

Ashurst has secured another leading role for Blackstone Capital Partners, advising opposite Clifford Chance on the private equity group’s EURO375m acquisition of Legoland Parks

The mandate comes just weeks after Ashurst assisted Blackstone in its acquisition of Merlin Entertainments, the operator of 28 visitor attractions across Europe including Sea Life and the London Dungeon.

It is Blackstone’s intention to combine Merlin and Legoland, which owns four family theme parks in England, Germany, California and Denmark.

The new company will operate under the name of Merlin Entertainments, with Blackstone holding a 70 per cent stake and the remaining 30 per cent controlled by Lego and its owners.

Ashurst corporate partners Charlie Geffen, David Carter and Jonathan Angell led the firm’s team advising Blackstone, assisted by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett on US aspects and Danish law firm Accura on Danish aspects of the acquisition.

Clifford Chance corporate partner Simon Clinton and head of global private equity James Baird acted for Lego, assisted by Dannish firm Plesner Svane Grønborg.

Travers Smith head of private equity Charles Barter advised the company’s management, while Freshfields banking partner Brian Gray advised HypoVereinsbank, which provided financing for the transaction.

Geffen and Carter also advised Blackstone on the Merlin Entertainments transaction in June. Travers Smith also acted for the management on the transaction, while Freshfields was instructed by Bayerische Hypo- und Vereinsbank which provided the debt.