TLT has advised Merlin Entertainments plc (“Merlin”), Europe’s largest visitor attractions operator, on its $34.4 million investment in Big Bus Tours, the leading global owner-operator of Hop On Hop Off city tours.
Merlin operates 111 attractions in 23 countries across four continents including Madame Tussauds and LEGOLAND®. Big Bus Tours was acquired by Exponent Private Equity in March 2015 and has a fleet of nearly 400 buses in 17 major cities including San Francisco, Hong Kong and London. The transaction includes a strategic partnership with Big Bus Tours that will provide both companies with further cooperation opportunities across many of their city centre markets.
The TLT team was led by Head of Commercial Services, Bill Hull. Corporate partner, Jon Gill led on the investment aspects with corporate partner Stephen Devlin and banking partner Paul Crighton, together with corporate associate Nina Searle and corporate solicitor, Thomas Rees. The strategic partnership was led by commercial partner Susan Honeyands with support from commercial solicitor Oliver Bell.
TLT's Jon Gill said: "We were delighted to be able to support Merlin, a long-standing client of TLT, on this strategic investment in Big Bus Tours. The transaction is a great example of a private equity-backed business working with a corporate investor during its investment cycle for mutual long-term benefit. We wish the Merlin and Big Bus team every success in realising the potential of their new partnership."
Ben Brinded, Corporate Development Director at Merlin said: "Jon and the TLT team did an excellent job in supporting Merlin on this strategic investment. Their knowledge and understanding of our business was essential in supporting all the different elements of this transaction."
TLT has acted for Merlin for 16 years. Recently the team advised on the New Year's Eve fireworks at the London Eye and drafted contracts for the BBC's 'Strictly Come Dancing' and 'Children in Need' filmed at the Blackpool Tower in 2015.