October 23, 2009 / 11:39 PM / 11 years ago

Blackstone's Merlin theme park group eyes IPO: report

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Blackstone Group’s (BX.N) Merlin Entertainments, the theme park group that owns Legoland and the London Eye, is preparing an initial public offering, the Financial Times website reported on Friday.

The offer would value Merlin at about 2 billion pounds ($3.26 billion) and is expected early next year, the report said, citing people familiar with the situation.

The private equity giant is in advanced talks with banks, the report said, adding Citigroup Inc (C.N), Goldman Sachs (GS.N), Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), UBS AG UBSN.VX, and Nomura Holdings (8604.T) were prepared to advise on the listing.

The report said Blackstone, which bought Merlin in 2005, will remain its majority shareholder.

A Blackstone spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.

Reporting by Jonathan Spicer and Megan Davies; Editing by Christian Wiessner

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