Pearson plc, the international media group, has started the process which could lead to the sale of The Tussauds Group. With a number of potential buyers expressing keen interest, Pearson has appointed Lazard Brothers to advise in the sale process.
Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson, said:
"The Tussauds Group is a great business with unique assets, strong management and a talented and committed workforce. But as we sharpen Pearson's focus on to a tighter group of media businesses, we have decided that this is a good time to test whether Tussauds might be even more valuable to a new owner. They will have to offer a good price to convince us that it is."
The financial performance of the group has been strong, underpinned by the quality of the Tussauds brand and major investment in visitor attractions. In 1997, total admissions were 9.5 million, with sales of £107 million and profits before interest, tax and depreciation of £35 million.
The Tussauds Group is the UK's leading visitor attraction business. The world famous Madame Tussaud's and Alton Towers, the UK's largest theme park, are the UK's two top-ranked commercial visitor attractions. The group also owns and operates Chessington World of Adventures, the south east's largest theme park, the London Planetarium, Rock Circus, in central London, Warwick Castle and Scenerama in Amsterdam. New Madame Tussaud's exhibitions are planned for New York and Las Vegas. Earlier this month, The Tussauds Group signed a conditional agreement to buy Thorpe Park in Surrey. Yesterday, Pearson announced it is to sell its stake in the Spanish theme park, Port Aventura.
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