Lego strikes deal to buy back Legoland, other theme parks

A group of investors that includes the owners of toy maker Lego is buying Merlin Entertainment, a British company that operates theme parks like Legoland.

Lego owner Kirkbi Invest joined forces with private equity firm Blackstone and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to offer 455 pence (60 cents) per share for Merlin, valuing it at 4.77 billion pounds ($6 billion).

Merlin, which runs eight Legoland parks and 20 Legoland Discovery Centers, among other sites, said Friday it accepted the deal. Its share price jumped 14%.

The investors will create a company that will own 50% of Merlin. Kirkbi already owns a stake of nearly 30%.

The first Legoland opened in 1968 near the Lego company headquarters in western Denmark. Lego sold the Legoland parks to Merlin in 2005.