UPDATE 1-British entertainments group Merlin to float in London

Monday, 21 Oct 2013 | 3:12 AM ET

LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Merlin Entertainments, whose attractions include the Madame Tussauds waxworks and Legoland theme parks, plans to sell at least 20 percent of its shares in a stock market debut in London.

The private equity-backed firm, which operates 99 attractions in 22 countries, said on Monday it would raise 200 million pounds ($324 million) from the sale of new shares to reduce debt.

Its owners, the Danish investment company Kirkbi A/S that controls Lego Group and private equity firms Blackstone Group and CVC, will also sell some of their holding, the company said.

Merlin, the world's second largest visitor attraction operator behind Walt Disney, said the sale would include an offering to individual retail investors as well as institutional investors.

Retail buyers will have to invest at least 1,000 pounds, and in return will get a 30 percent discount on an annual pass to Merlin sites for either two adults or a family.

Merlin put off plans for a listing in 2010 due to jittery markets.

Goldman Sachs and Barclays are running the offering, and are joint bookrunners along with Citi and Morgan Stanley.

The group posted an operating profit of 258.4 million pounds in 2012 and on Monday said revenue in the 35 weeks to Aug. 31 was up 11.1 percent, supported by strong like-for-like growth and the impact of new attractions.