Merlin to close London float order books early: source

Sun Nov 3, 2013 6:45pm EST

The London Eye is seen at dawn in central London October 21, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The London Eye is seen at dawn in central London October 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

(Reuters) - Madame Tussauds owner Merlin Entertainments IPO-MEG.L is to close its London share sale early due to strong demand, a person familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

Order books on the offering, which will value private equity-backed Merlin at as much as 3.3 billion pounds ($5.3 billion), had been due to close on November 8 for members of the public and on November 11 for institutional investors.

Both groups will now have until November 7 to put in orders for the shares, the person said.

Merlin, which is offering the shares at 280 to 330 pence each, said last month it planned to raise 200 million pounds from the sale of new shares to reduce debt. {ID:nL5N0IB0NF]

Its owners will also sell some of their holdings through the listing. Owners include Danish investment firm Kirkbi A/S, which controls Lego Group. Other owners are the private equity firms Blackstone Group (BX.N) and CVC, as well as company directors and employees.

($1 = 0.6281 British pound)

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan in London; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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