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Merlin Entertain (MERL)

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Monday 04 November, 2019

Merlin Entertain

Scheme of Arrangement Becomes Effective

RNS Number : 1418S
Merlin Entertainments plc
04 November 2019
 

NOT FOR RELEASE, PUBLICATION OR DISTRIBUTION (IN WHOLE OR IN PART, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY) IN, INTO OR FROM ANY JURISDICTION WHERE TO DO SO WOULD CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION OF THE RELEVANT LAWS OF SUCH JURISDICTION

4 November 2019

RECOMMENDED CASH ACQUISITION

of

MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS PLC

by

MOTION ACQUISITION LIMITED

(a company owned by joint offerors (i) KIRKBI INvest A/S and (ii) funds ADVISED BY blackstone core equity advisors l.l.c. and canada pension plan investment board as a co-investor)  

to be effected by means of a Scheme of Arrangement under
Part 26 of the Companies Act 2006

 

MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS PLC SCHEME OF ARRANGEMENT BECOMES EFFECTIVE

On 28 June 2019, the Independent Directors of Merlin Entertainments plc ("Merlin") and the board of Motion Acquisition Limited ("Bidco"), a company owned by joint offerors (i) KIRKBI Invest A/S ("KIRKBI") and (ii) funds advised by Blackstone Core Equity Advisors L.L.C. and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board as a co-investor, announced that they had agreed the terms of a recommended cash offer pursuant to which Bidco will acquire the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Merlin, other than those shares already owned or controlled by KIRKBI (the "Acquisition") to be effected by means of a Court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement under Part 26 of the Companies Act (the "Scheme"). The circular in relation to the Scheme (the "Scheme Document") was posted to Merlin Shareholders on 1 August 2019.

On 31 October 2019, Merlin announced that the High Court of Justice in England and Wales had sanctioned the Scheme at the Scheme Court Hearing held on 31 October 2019.

Merlin and Bidco are pleased to announce that, following the delivery of the Court Order to the Registrar of Companies today, the Scheme has now become effective in accordance with its terms and, pursuant to the Scheme, the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Merlin (other than those shares owned or controlled by KIRKBI) is now owned by Bidco.  In relation to those shares owned or controlled by KIRKBI, Bidco confirms that such shares are anticipated to be transferred to Bidco today pursuant to the Share Exchange Deed entered into by KIRKBI and Bidco.

A Scheme Shareholder on the register of members of Merlin at the Scheme Record Time, being 6.00 p.m. (London time) on 1 November 2019, will be entitled to receive 455 pence in cash for each Scheme Share held. Settlement of the consideration to which any Scheme Shareholder is entitled will be effected by way of the despatch of cheques or the crediting of CREST accounts (for Scheme Shareholders holding Scheme Shares in certificated form and in uncertificated form respectively) as soon as practicable and in any event not later than 14 days after the Effective Date, as set out in the Scheme Document.

Applications have been made to the Financial Conduct Authority and the London Stock Exchange in relation to the de-listing of Merlin Shares from the premium listing segment of the Official List and the cancellation of the admission to trading of Merlin Shares on the London Stock Exchange's main market for listed securities, which is expected to take place at 8:00 a.m. (London time) on 5 November 2019.

As the Scheme has now become effective, Merlin duly announces that, as of today's date, Joseph Baratta, Peter Wallace, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, Sidsel Marie Kristensen and Lori Hall-Kimm have been appointed to the Merlin Board and Sir John Sunderland, Rachel Chiang, Andrew Fisher, Charles Gurassa, Fru Hazlitt and Trudy Rautio have tendered their resignations and have stepped down from the Merlin Board.

Full details of the Acquisition are set out in the Scheme Document published on 1 August 2019.

Capitalised terms used but not defined in this announcement have the meanings given to them in the Scheme Document.


Enquiries:

Merlin
Simon Whittington (Investors)
James Crampton (Media)

 

Tel: +44 (0)1202 493 011

Tel: +44 (0)1202 493 014

Goldman Sachs International (lead financial adviser to Merlin)
Anthony Gutman

Nick Harper

James Brodie

Tel: +44 (0)20 7774 1000

 

Barclays (financial adviser and corporate broker to Merlin)

Alisdair Gayne

Daniel Ross

Tom Macdonald

Tel: +44 (0)20 7623 2323

Citi (financial adviser and corporate broker to Merlin)

Andrew Seaton

Jan Skarbek

Peter Catterall

Tel: +44 (0)20 7986 4000

Brunswick (PR adviser to Merlin)
Simon Sporborg

Fiona Micallef-Eynaud

Imran Jina

 

Tel: +44 (0)20 7404 5959

 

FTI Consulting (PR adviser to KIRKBI and Blackstone)

Louisa Feltes

Ed Bridges
Mitch Barltrop
Katherine Bell

 

Tel: +44 (0)20 3727 1166

Tel: +44 (0)20 3727 1067
Tel: +44 (0)20 3727 1039
Tel: +44 (0)20 3727 1314

Blackstone

Ramesh Chhabra

 

Tel: +44 (0)20 7451 4053

 

Lazard (sole financial adviser to Bidco)
William Rucker

Charlie Foreman

William Lawes

Mia Tukulj

 

Tel: +44 (0)20 7187 2581

Tel: +44 (0)20 7187 2251

Tel: +44 (0)20 7187 2458

Tel: +44 (0)20 7187 2309

 

Important notices


Goldman Sachs International, which is authorised by the PRA and regulated by the FCA and the PRA in the United Kingdom, is acting exclusively for Merlin as financial adviser and no one else in connection with the Acquisition and other matters set out in this Announcement and will not be responsible to anyone other than Merlin for providing the protections afforded to clients of Goldman Sachs International, or for providing advice in connection with the Acquisition, the content of this Announcement or any matter referred to herein. Neither Goldman Sachs International or any of its subsidiaries, affiliates or branches owes or accepts any duty, liability or responsibility whatsoever (whether direct, indirect, consequential, whether in contract, in tort, under statute or otherwise) to any person who is not a client of Goldman Sachs International in connection with this Announcement, any statement contained herein or otherwise.

Barclays Bank PLC, acting through its Investment Bank ("Barclays"), which is authorised in the United Kingdom by the PRA and regulated in the United Kingdom by the FCA and the PRA, is acting exclusively for Merlin as financial adviser and no one else in connection with the Acquisition and will not be responsible to anyone other than Merlin in providing the protections afforded to clients of Barclays or for providing advice in relation to the Acquisition, the content of this Announcement or any other matter referred to herein.  Neither Barclays nor any of its subsidiaries, affiliates or branches owes or accepts any duty, liability or responsibility whatsoever (whether direct, indirect, consequential, whether in contract, in tort, under statute or otherwise) to any person who is not a client of Barclays in connection with this Document, any statement contained herein or otherwise

Citigroup Global Markets Limited ("Citi"), which is authorised in the United Kingdom by the PRA and regulated in the United Kingdom by the FCA and the PRA, is acting exclusively for Merlin as financial adviser and no one else in connection with the Acquisition and other matters set out in this Announcement and will not be responsible to anyone other than Merlin for providing the protections afforded to clients of Citi, or for providing advice in connection with the Acquisition, the content of this Announcement or any matter referred to herein. Neither Citi nor any of its subsidiaries, affiliates or branches owes or accepts any duty, liability or responsibility whatsoever (whether direct, indirect, consequential, whether in contract, in tort, under statute or otherwise) to any person who is not a client of Citi in connection with this Announcement, any statement contained herein or otherwise.

Lazard & Co., Limited ("Lazard"), which is authorised by and regulated by the FCA in the United Kingdom, is acting exclusively as financial adviser to Bidco and no one else in connection with the Acquisition and other matters set out in this Announcement and will not be responsible to anyone other than Bidco for providing the protections afforded to clients of Lazard  or for providing advice in relation to the Acquisition, the content of this Announcement or any other matter referred to herein. Neither Lazard nor any of its affiliates owes or accepts any duty, liability or responsibility whatsoever (whether direct or indirect, whether in contract, in tort, under statute or otherwise) to any person who is not a client of Lazard in connection with this Announcement, any statement contained herein or otherwise.

Merrill Lynch International ("BofA Merrill Lynch"), which is authorised in the United Kingdom by the PRA and regulated in the United Kingdom by the FCA and the PRA, is acting exclusively for Blackstone and for no one else and will not be responsible to anyone other than Blackstone for providing the protections afforded to its clients or for providing advice in relation to the matters referred to in this Announcement. Neither BofA Merrill Lynch, nor any of its affiliates, owes or accepts any duty, liability or responsibility whatsoever (whether direct or indirect, whether in contract, in tort, under statute or otherwise) to any person who is not a client of BofA Merrill Lynch in connection with this Announcement, any statement contained herein or otherwise.

Further information

This Announcement is for information purposes only and is not intended to and does not constitute or form part of, any offer, invitation or the solicitation of an offer to purchase, otherwise acquire, subscribe for, sell or otherwise dispose of any securities, or the solicitation of any vote or approval in any jurisdiction, pursuant to the Acquisition or otherwise nor shall there be any sale, issuance or transfer of securities of Merlin in any jurisdiction in contravention of applicable law. The Acquisition will be implemented solely by means of the Scheme Document, which contains the full terms and conditions of the Acquisition.  Each Shareholder is urged to consult his independent professional adviser immediately regarding the tax consequences of the Acquisition applicable to him.

This Announcement does not constitute a prospectus or prospectus equivalent document.

Overseas jurisdictions

This Announcement has been prepared for the purpose of complying with English law, the Code and the Listing Rules and information disclosed may not be the same as that which would have been disclosed if this Announcement had been prepared in accordance with the laws of jurisdictions outside the United Kingdom.

The availability of the Acquisition to holders of Shares who are not resident in the United Kingdom may be affected by the laws of the relevant jurisdictions in which they are resident. It is the responsibility of any person outside the United Kingdom into whose possession this Announcement comes to satisfy themselves as to the full observance of the laws of the relevant jurisdiction in connection with the Acquisition, including the obtaining of any governmental, exchange control or other consents which may be required and/or compliance with other necessary formalities which are required to be observed and the payment of any issue, transfer or other taxes or levies due in such jurisdiction.

The release, publication or distribution of this Announcement in certain jurisdictions may be restricted by law. Persons who are not resident in the United Kingdom or who are subject to the laws of other jurisdictions should inform themselves of, and observe, any applicable requirements. Any failure to comply with the applicable restrictions may constitute a violation of the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, the companies and persons involved in the Acquisition disclaim any responsibility or liability for the violation of such restrictions by any person.

Unless otherwise determined by Bidco or required by the Code and permitted by applicable law and regulation, the Acquisition will not be made available, directly or indirectly, in, into or from a Restricted Jurisdiction where to do so would violate the laws in that jurisdiction. Accordingly, copies of this Announcement and all documents relating to the Acquisition are not being, and must not be, directly or indirectly, mailed or otherwise forwarded, distributed or sent in, into or from a Restricted Jurisdiction where to do so would violate the laws in that jurisdiction, and persons receiving copies of this Announcement and all documents relating to the Acquisition (including custodians, nominees and trustees) must observe these restrictions and must not mail or otherwise distribute or send them in, into or from such jurisdictions where to do so would violate the laws in that jurisdiction.

The Acquisition relates to shares in an English company and is proposed to be made by means of a scheme of arrangement under English company law.  US holders of Merlin Shares should note that the Scheme relates to the shares of an English company that is a "foreign private issuer" as defined under Rule 3b-4 of the US Exchange Act and will be governed by English law.  Neither the US proxy solicitation rules nor the tender offer rules under the US Exchange Act will apply to the Acquisition and the Scheme.  Moreover, the Acquisition and the Scheme are subject to the disclosure requirements and practices applicable in England to schemes of arrangement, which differ from the disclosure requirements of the US proxy solicitation rules and tender offer rules.  Financial information included in the Scheme Document has been prepared in accordance with accounting standards applicable in the UK that may not be comparable to financial statements of US companies whose financial statements are prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States. 

Neither the SEC nor any securities commission of any state of the US nor any other US regulatory authority has approved the Acquisition, passed upon the fairness of the Acquisition or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of this Document. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offence in the US.

The receipt of cash pursuant to the Acquisition by a US holder of Merlin Shares as consideration for the transfer of its Merlin Shares pursuant to the Scheme will be a taxable transaction for US federal income tax purposes and may also be a taxable transaction under applicable state and local tax laws, as well as foreign and other tax laws. Each US holder of Merlin Shares is strongly advised to consult an appropriately qualified independent professional tax adviser immediately with respect to the tax consequences of the Scheme.

This Announcement does not constitute an offer to sell or issue or the solicitation of an offer to buy or subscribe for shares in any jurisdiction in which such offer or solicitation is unlawful.

Overseas shareholders should consult their own legal and tax advisers with respect to the legal and tax consequences of the Scheme.

Publication on website

A copy of this Announcement will be made available on the Merlin website at www.merlinentertainments.biz/recommended-offer and the Bidco website at www.motion-offer.com by no later than 12:00 p.m. on the Business Day following this Announcement. For the avoidance of doubt, neither the content of any website referred to in this Announcement nor the content of any website accessible from hyperlinks is incorporated into, or forms part of, this Announcement.

 


This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact [email protected] or visit www.rns.com.
 
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