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#NEWS: Dubai International Capital Buys Tussauds Waxworks Museum

4533 Views 26 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Bahraini Spirit
Dubai Firm Buys Tussauds Waxworks Museum

Corinne Douglas takes a picture of Siperman at the Madame Tussauds wax museum in London. A Dubai investment company said it would acquire Tussauds Group, which runs Madame Tussauds wax museum and the London Eye among other sites, from London-based Charterhouse Capital Partners for 800 million pounds (1.5 billion dollars).(AFP/File /Carl de Souza)

LONDON (Reuters) - Tussauds Group, home to the famous waxwork museums, was sold for 800 million pounds ($1.51 billion) to a private equity firm owned by the government of Dubai, the companies said on Wednesday.

Charterhouse Capital Partners, the buyout firm which owned Tussauds, agreed the sale to Dubai International Capital after its first attempt to sell the group fell through last year when bids came in below its threshold.

Charterhouse acquired Tussauds for 352 million pounds in 1998 from Pearson Plc, the media group. It has since expanded its number of waxwork museums to include sites in New York, Las Vegas, Amsterdam and Hong Kong, alongside the flagship operation in London.

It also owns some of Britain's biggest theme parks, such as Alton Towers and Thorpe Park, and has a stake in the London Eye, the giant wheel on the bank of the Thames.

Chief Executive Peter Phillipson, who will retain his position along with the rest of the group's management, is credited with modernizing its image.

It hit the headlines in 2003 after unveiling a new model of Britney Spears, equipped with heaving breasts that beat in time to music, and one of Simon Cowell, the infamously *****rdly judge on TV series "Pop Idol."

"The plan is to do more of the same," Phillipson told Reuters in an interview.

He said the current management team came together about four years ago and in that time it had more than doubled Tussauds Group's profit, before items, to 70 million pounds in 2004 from 31 million in 2000.


"So going forward an important part of our goal will be to continue and accelerate the rollout of our proven strategy," Phillipson said.

He said the aim was further to develop the company's 1,600 freehold acres of land, as well as eye opportunities in Europe, particularly in the theme-park sector which he said was still highly fragmented.

"We would consider ourselves to be a candidate to lead the consolidation of the European theme-park industry in the coming years," he said.

For Dubai International Capital, the deal is the second investment the private equity firm has made in 2005. In January it bought a $1 billion stake in DaimlerChrysler AG (DCXGn.DE.

Sameer Al Ansari, chief executive of the group, which was set up last October by state-owned Dubai Holding, said it planned to continue the spending spree.

"You will see a lot more of us," he said. "We're an active investor company that's looking for value all over the world, so we will seek value wherever we find it."

Al Ansari declined to comment on the size of the group's fund or to say whether the money came directly from the Dubai government. Dubai Holding is owned by the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. Dubai is a trading hub in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates.

Its entrance into the private equity sector comes as buyout firms have raised billions in funds and are aggressively competing over deals.

But Al Ansari said the aim wasn't to compete with the big firms, such as Permira or U.S. giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Rather the aim is to work with them, he said.

"We believe we are very complimentary to them, we see ourselves as a partner to them, especially for secondary buyouts," he said.

He was referring to the practice of private-equity firms selling companies to one another. Investors, who pump money into the buyout firms, have criticized this strategy in recent years because often they can pay fees twice on the same deal.

Al Ansari said the aim was to have 60 percent of the group's investments in North America and Europe, with the remainder in the Middle East and Asia. (Additional reporting by Richard Dean in Dubai) ($1=.5314 Pound)
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Read it this mornin, that's a large amount of money invested to buy this, £800 million pounds, man.
$1,51billion! that's must be a lot of wax! :runaway:
It's a big name, that's why they went for it. The brand is already well established, but that's a large sum of money that has been spent.
The Tussauds Group includes Madame Tussauds museums in London, New York, Las Vegas, Amsterdam and Hong Kong, theme parks Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures in the UK, and a one-third shareholding in the London Eye, which it also operates.

Together, the group’s businesses attract around 14 million visitors and generate turnover of GBP200 million ($484 million) annually

Also this has great advertising possibilities for DubaiLand
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so, you think they bought it for advertising dubailand?
well, it's the same company

will they then open another madame tussauds in dubailand?
I imagine that they will open a tussauds in Dubai. Probably Downtown Dubailand would be a good place - could then be open late.

They would be crazy not to use it as a vehicle for advertising - expect to see lots of leaflets and posters of DubaiLand in the UK theme parks now, also links from there websites. UK residents love theme parks. :)
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They had a theme park in Germany also
Excerpt from UK newspaper

"Sameer Al Ansari, chief executive of state-owned Dubai International Capital (DIC), said the Tussauds' management team would be consulted on further developments at the site, though no decision had been taken on whether or not to introduce the waxwork galleries to the Arab emirate.

The acquisition is also part of Sheikh Mohammed's programme to diversify state assets, and comes three months after a $1bn investment in US carmaker DaimlerChrysler. DIC plans to make 60% of future investments in North America and Europe, with the remainder in the Middle East and Asia.

Tussauds Group attractions, which include Chessington World of Adventures, Madame Tussauds and Heide Park in north Germany, draw in 14 million visitors a year, making it Europe's largest theme park group. It also owns a third share in the London Eye Ferris wheel. "
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So now Dubai fully owns and is in charge of:

Madame Tussauds in London
Madame Tussauds in New York
Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam
Madame Tussauds in Hong Kong
Alton Towers theme park in UK
Thorpe Park theme park in UK
Chessington World of Adventures theme park in UK
Heide Park in North Germany

+One-third shareholding in the London Eye
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not a bad investment
I think we should embrace ourselves for another round of Dubai bashing on Skybar, similar to what's happened when the Cricket Assoc. decided to move to Dubai :gunz: :lol:
i think the main reason for this buy was to get people who know how to build/run/ promote theme parks. its all about getting dubai lands parks up to scratch. having tussaudes waxworks probably just a bonus, i could see that being sold on.
dont be suprised to see a wax musem in dubai in the next few years, i think this is bound to happen, and its a good move too,
Not everything that glitters in Dubai will be gold, it may also be wax!
good one juiced
I can picture it... Dubai buys Disneyland and renames it Dubai Land at Florida, replaces Mickey Mouse wit Modesh. :D
America can never sell off Disney, its the only culture/heritage that they have. :hilarious
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