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RNS Number : 5430H
Merlin Entertainments plc
01 August 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

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

1 August 2019

RECOMMENDED CASH ACQUISITION

of

MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS plc

by

MOTION ACQUISITION Limited
(A NEWLY FORMED 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 CO‑INVESTOR)


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

 

PUBLICATION OF THE SCHEME DOCUMENT

On 28 June 2019, the Independent Directors of Merlin Entertainments plc ("Merlin") and the board of Motion Acquisition Limited (a newly formed 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 co-investor) ("Bidco") 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 Merlin Shares 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").

Publication of the Scheme Document

Merlin is pleased to announce that a circular in relation to the Scheme (the "Scheme Document"), setting out, among other things, a letter from the Chairman of Merlin , the full terms and conditions of the Scheme, a statutory explanatory statement, an expected timetable of principal events, notices of the Court Meeting and General Meeting and details of the action to be taken by Merlin Shareholders has been published today on the Merlin website at www.merlinentertainments.biz/recommended-offer and on Bidco's website at www.motion-offer.com.

Hard copies of the Scheme Document and the Forms of Proxy for the Court Meeting and the General Meeting (or, depending on the Merlin Shareholders' communication preferences, a letter or email giving details of the website where the Scheme Document and Forms of Proxy may be accessed) are being sent to Merlin Shareholders. Merlin Shareholders may request hard copies of the Scheme Document and the Forms of Proxy for the Court Meeting and the General Meeting by calling Computershare on +44 (0)370 703 6259 or by writing to Computershare at The Pavilions, Bridgewater Road, Bristol, BS99 6ZY stating the name and address to which the hard copy should be sent.

Capitalised terms in this announcement (the "Announcement"), unless otherwise defined, have the same meanings as set out in the Scheme Document.  All references to times in this Announcement are to London times unless otherwise stated.

Action required

As further detailed in the Scheme Document, in order to become effective, the Scheme will require, among other things, that the requisite majority of (i) eligible Independent Shareholders vote in favour of the Scheme at the Court Meeting and (ii) eligible Merlin Shareholders pass the Special Resolution at the General Meeting.  The Scheme is also subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the Conditions and further terms that are set out in the Scheme Document.

Notices convening the Court Meeting and the General Meeting at 11.00 am (London time) on 3 September 2019 and 11.10 am (London time) (or immediately after the conclusion or adjournment of the Court Meeting) on 3 September 2019, respectively, to be held at Mini Auditorium, DLA Piper UK LLP, 160 Aldersgate Street, Barbican, London, EC1A 4HT are set out in the Scheme Document. 


The Merlin Independent Directors, having been so advised by Barclays Bank PLC, acting through its Investment Bank ("Barclays"), Goldman Sachs International ("Goldman Sachs"), and Citigroup Global Markets Limited ("Citi") as to the financial terms of the Acquisition, consider the terms of the Acquisition to be fair and reasonable.  In providing advice to the Merlin Independent Directors, Goldman Sachs, Barclays and Citi have taken into account the commercial assessments of the Merlin Independent Directors.

The Merlin Independent Directors believe that the terms of the Acquisition (including the Scheme) are in the best interests of Merlin Shareholders as a whole and unanimously recommend that Independent Shareholders vote in favour of the Scheme at the Court Meeting and that Merlin Shareholders vote in favour of the Special Resolution to be proposed at the General Meeting, as the Merlin Independent Directors who hold Merlin Shares in their own name or through a nominee have irrevocably agreed to do in respect of all of their own beneficial holdings of Shares.

It is important that, for the Court Meeting in particular, as many votes as possible are cast so that the Court may be satisfied that there is a fair and reasonable representation of opinion of the Independent Shareholders.  Independent Shareholders are therefore strongly advised to complete, sign and return their blue Form of Proxy or appoint a proxy electronically, for the Court Meeting as soon as possible.

Merlin Shareholders should carefully read the Scheme Document in its entirety before making a decision with respect to the Scheme.

Timetable
 

The Scheme Document contains an expected timetable of principal events relating to the Scheme, which is also set out in the Appendix to this Announcement.  The Scheme remains conditional on the approval of Independent Shareholders at the Court Meeting and Merlin Shareholders at the General Meeting and to the satisfaction or waiver of the other Conditions set out in the Scheme Document, including the approval of the Court.  The Scheme is expected to become effective in the fourth quarter of 2019 and an update to the expected timetable will be announced following receipt of relevant antitrust and regulatory clearances.

Information for Merlin Shareholders

Copies of this Announcement and the Scheme Document will be available (subject to certain restrictions relating to persons in certain overseas jurisdictions) on Merlin's website at www.merlinentertainments.biz/recommended-offer and on Bidco's website at www.motion-offer.com by no later than 12:00 p.m. (London time) on the Business Day following this Announcement, up to and including the Effective Date.

A copy of the Scheme Document will shortly be submitted to the National Storage Mechanism and will be available for inspection at www.morningstar.co.uk/uk/NSM.

If you have any questions about this Announcement, the Scheme Document, the Court Meeting or the General Meeting, or are in any doubt as to how to appoint a proxy, please call Computershare between 8.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. Monday to Friday (except UK public holidays) on +44 (0)370 703 6259.  Calls will be charged at national or international rates as the case may be. Different charges may apply to calls from mobile telephones.  Please note that calls may be monitored or recorded and Computershare cannot provide legal, tax or financial advice or advice on the merits of the Scheme


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

Daniel Holgersson

 

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

 

 

 

APPENDIX

EXPECTED TIMETABLE OF PRINCIPAL EVENTS

The following indicative timetable is based on Merlin's and Bidco's current expected dates for the implementation of the Scheme and is subject to change.  If any of the dates and/or times in this expected timetable change, the revised dates and/or times will be notified to Merlin Shareholders by announcement through the Regulatory Information Service of the London Stock Exchange.

 

Event

Time and/or date

ADS Record Time

Publication of the Scheme Document

Latest Time for Merlin ADS Holders to cancel their Merlin ADSs and receive Merlin Shares ahead of the Voting Record Time

Latest time for receipt of ADS Voting Instruction Card

 

Latest time for lodging Forms of Proxy for the:

Court Meeting (blue form)

General Meeting (yellow form)
 

Voting Record Time

Court Meeting

General Meeting

5:00 p.m. (New York time) on 26 July 2019

1 August 2019

5:00 p.m. (New York time) on 22 August 2019(1)
 


10:00 a.m. (New York time) on 28 August 2019(1)


 

11:00 a.m. on 30 August 2019 (2)

11:10 a.m. on 30 August 2019 (3)
 

6:00 p.m. on 30 August 2019(4)

11:00 a.m.  on 3 September 2019   

11:10 a.m. on 3 September 2019(5)

The following dates are indicative only and are subject to change(6)

Scheme Court Hearing

A date expected to be in the fourth quarter of 2019 and, in any event prior to the Long Stop Date, subject to the satisfaction (or, if applicable, waiver) of Conditions 3(A) to 3(G) (inclusive) ("D")

Last day of dealings in, and for the registration of transfers of, Merlin Shares

Scheme Record Time

Suspension of dealings in and disablement of CREST of Merlin Shares

Effective Date of the Scheme

Cancellation of listing of Merlin Shares

Latest date for despatch of cheques and crediting of CREST accounts for cash consideration due under the Scheme

Long Stop Date

D+1 Business Day


6.00 p.m. on D+1 Business Day

6.00 p.m. on D+1 Business Day
 

By 8.00 a.m. on D+2 Business Days

By 8.00 a.m. on D+2 Business Days

within 14 days of the Effective Date


29 February 2020(7)

Notes:

(1)           Or, if either the Court Meeting or the General Meeting is adjourned, such later date as may be notified by the Depositary.         

(2)           It is requested that blue Forms of Proxy for the Court Meeting be lodged not later than 48 hours prior to the time appointed for the Court Meeting or, if the Court Meeting is adjourned, the time fixed for any adjourned Court Meeting (excluding in either case any part of such 48 hour period falling on a non-working day).  If the blue Form of Proxy for the Court Meeting is not returned by the above time, it may be handed to a representative of Computershare or to the Chairman of the Court Meeting before the start of that Meeting.

(3)           In order to be valid, the yellow Forms of Proxy for the General Meeting must be received by 11:10 a.m. on 30 August 2019 or, if the General Meeting is adjourned, 48 hours prior to the time fixed for the adjourned General Meeting (excluding any part of such 48 hour period falling on a non-working day).

(4)           If either the Court Meeting or the General Meeting is adjourned, the Voting Record Time for the relevant adjourned meeting will be 6.00 p.m. on the day which is two days (excluding non-working day) prior to the date set for such adjourned meeting.

(5)           To commence at 11:10 a.m. or as soon thereafter as the Court Meeting shall have concluded or adjourned.

(6)           These dates are indicative only and will depend, among other things, on the date upon which (i) the Conditions are satisfied or (if capable of waiver) waived; (ii) the Court sanctions the Scheme; and (iii) the Court Order is delivered to the Registrar of Companies.

(7)           This is the latest date by which the Scheme may become effective. However, the Long Stop Date may be extended to such later date as Merlin and Bidco may agree in writing (with the Panel's consent and as the Court may approve (if such consent and/or approval is/are required)).

All references in this Announcement to times are to London time unless otherwise stated. 

     
 

 

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.

In accordance with the Code, normal United Kingdom market practice and Rule 14e- 5(b) of the US Exchange Act, each of Goldman Sachs International, Barclays and Citi and their respective affiliates will continue to act as exempt principal trader in Merlin securities on the London Stock Exchange. These purchases and activities by exempt principal traders which are required to be made public in the United Kingdom pursuant to the Code will be reported to a Regulatory Information Service and will be available on the London Stock Exchange website at www.londonstockexchange.com. This information will also be publicly disclosed in the United States to the extent that such information is made public in the United Kingdom.

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 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 made solely pursuant to the terms of the Scheme Document (or, if the Acquisition is implemented by way of a Takeover Offer, the offer document), which will contain the full terms and conditions of the Acquisition, including details of how to vote in respect of the Acquisition.  Any decision in respect of the Scheme (or, if applicable, the Takeover Offer), or other response in relation to, the Acquisition should be made only on the basis of the information contained in the Scheme Document (or, if the Acquisition is implemented by way of a Takeover Offer, the offer document).  Each Merlin Shareholder is strongly advised 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 in accordance with English law, the Code, the Market Abuse Regulation and the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules and information disclosed may not be the same as that which would have been prepared in accordance with the laws of jurisdictions outside England.

The availability of the Acquisition to Merlin Shareholders who are not resident in and citizens of the United Kingdom may be affected by the laws of the relevant jurisdictions in which they are located or of which they are citizens.  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 legal or regulatory requirements of their jurisdictions. In particular, the ability of persons who are not resident in the United Kingdom to vote their Merlin Shares with respect to the Scheme at the Court Meeting, or to appoint another person as proxy to vote at the Court Meeting on their behalf, may be affected by the laws of the relevant jurisdictions in which they are located. 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 and no person may vote in favour of the Scheme by any such use, means, instrumentality or from within a Restricted Jurisdiction or any other jurisdiction if to do so would constitute a violation of the laws of that jurisdiction. Copies of this Announcement and any formal documentation relating to the Acquisition are not being, and must not be, directly or indirectly, mailed or otherwise forwarded, distributed or sent in or into or from any Restricted Jurisdiction or any other jurisdiction if to do so would constitute a violation of the laws of that jurisdiction and persons receiving such documents (including custodians, nominees and trustees) must not mail or otherwise forward, distribute or send them in or into or from any Restricted Jurisdiction. Doing so may render invalid any related purported vote in respect of the Acquisition. If the Acquisition is implemented by way of a Takeover Offer (unless otherwise permitted by applicable law and regulation), the Takeover Offer may not be made directly or indirectly, in or into, or by the use of mails or any means or instrumentality (including, but not limited to, facsimile, e-mail or other electronic transmission, telex or telephone) of interstate or foreign commerce of, or of any facility of a national, state or other securities exchange of any Restricted Jurisdiction and the Takeover Offer may not be capable of acceptance by any such use, means, instrumentality or facilities.

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 this 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.  If Bidco were to elect to implement the acquisition of the Merlin Shares by way of a Takeover Offer, such offer will be made in compliance with applicable US securities laws and regulations, including Section 14(e) of the US Exchange Act and Regulation 14E thereunder.

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.


In accordance with normal UK practice, Bidco or its nominees, or its brokers (acting as agents), may from time to time make certain purchases of, or arrangements to purchase, Merlin Shares outside of the US, other than pursuant to the Acquisition, until the date on which the Acquisition and/or Scheme becomes effective, lapses or is otherwise withdrawn in compliance with applicable law, including the US Exchange Act.  These purchases may occur either in the open market at prevailing prices or in private transactions at negotiated prices.  Any information about such purchases will be disclosed as required in the UK, will be reported to a Regulatory Information Service and will be available on the London Stock Exchange website at www.londonstockexchange.com.

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

Forward looking statements

This Announcement and the Scheme Document, include statements which are, or may be deemed to be, "forward-looking statements". Forward-looking statements are prospective in nature and are not based on historical facts, but rather on current expectations and projections of the management of the Bidco and Merlin about future events, and are therefore subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from the future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.

Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "is subject to", "budget", "projects", "strategy", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "should", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved. Although the Bidco and Merlin believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, the Bidco and Merlin can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

These factors include, but are not limited to: the ability to complete the Acquisition; the ability to obtain requisite regulatory and shareholder approvals and the satisfaction of other Conditions on the proposed terms and schedule; as future market conditions, changes in general economic and business conditions, the behaviour of other market participants, the anticipated benefits from the proposed transaction not being realised as a result of changes in general economic and market conditions in the countries in which the Bidco and Merlin operate, weak, volatile or illiquid capital and/or credit markets, changes in tax rates, interest rate and currency value fluctuations, the degree of competition in the geographic and business areas in which the Bidco and Merlin operate and changes in laws or in supervisory expectations or requirements. Other unknown or unpredictable factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements should therefore be construed in the light of such factors. Neither Bidco nor Merlin, nor any of their respective associates or directors, officers or advisers, provides any representation, assurance or guarantee that the occurrence of the events expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements in this Announcement will actually occur. You are cautioned not to place any reliance on these forward-looking statements. Other than in accordance with their legal or regulatory obligations, none of Merlin, any member of the Merlin Group, Bidco, any member of the Bidco Group or any member of the Consortium assumes any obligation or intends publicly to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of future events, new information or otherwise except as required pursuant to applicable law.

No profit forecast or estimates

No statement in this Announcement is intended to be or is to be construed as a profit forecast, profit estimate or quantified benefits statement for any period and no statement in this Announcement should be interpreted to mean that earnings or earnings per Merlin Share for the current or future financial years would necessarily match or exceed the historical published earnings or earnings per Merlin Share.

Dealing and Opening Position Disclosure Requirements of the City Code

Under Rule 8.3(a) of the Code, any person who is interested in 1% or more of any class of relevant securities of an Offeree company or of any securities exchange Offeror (being any Offeror other than an Offeror in respect of which it has been announced that its offer is, or is likely to be, solely in cash) must make an Opening Position Disclosure following the commencement of the offer period and, if later, following the Announcement in which any securities exchange Offeror is first identified.  An Opening Position Disclosure must contain details of the person's interests and short positions in, and rights to subscribe for, any relevant securities of each of (i) the Offeree company and (ii) any securities exchange Offeror(s).  An Opening Position Disclosure by a person to whom Rule 8.3(a) of the Code applies must be made by no later than 3.30 pm (London time) on the 10th business day following the commencement of the offer period and, if appropriate, by no later than 3.30 pm (London time) on the 10th business day following the Announcement in which any securities exchange Offeror is first identified.  Relevant persons who deal in the relevant securities of the Offeree company or of a securities exchange Offeror prior to the deadline for making an Opening Position Disclosure must instead make a Dealing Disclosure.

Under Rule 8.3(b) of the Code, any person who is, or becomes, interested in 1% or more of any class of relevant securities of the Offeree company or of any securities exchange Offeror must make a Dealing Disclosure if the person deals in any relevant securities of the Offeree company or of any securities exchange Offeror.  A Dealing Disclosure must contain details of the dealing concerned and of the person's interests and short positions in, and rights to subscribe for, any relevant securities of each of (i) the Offeree company and (ii) any securities exchange Offeror(s), save to the extent that these details have previously been disclosed under Rule 8 of the Code.  A Dealing Disclosure by a person to whom Rule 8.3(b) applies must be made by no later than 3.30 pm on the business day following the date of the relevant dealing.

If two or more persons act together pursuant to an agreement or understanding, whether formal or informal, to acquire or control an interest in relevant securities of an Offeree company or a securities exchange Offeror, they will be deemed to be a single person for the purpose of Rule 8.3 of the Code.

Opening Position Disclosures must also be made by the Offeree company and by any Offeror and Dealing Disclosures must also be made by the Offeree company, by any Offeror and by any persons acting in concert with any of them (see Rules 8.1, 8.2 and 8.4 of the Code).

Details of the Offeree and Offeror companies in respect of whose relevant securities Opening Position Disclosures and Dealing Disclosures must be made can be found in the Disclosure Table on the Takeover Panel's website at www.thetakeoverpanel.org.uk, including details of the number of relevant securities in issue, when the offer period commenced and when any Offeror was first identified.  You should contact the Panel's Market Surveillance Unit on +44 (0)20 7638 0129 if you are in any doubt as to whether you are required to make an Opening Position Disclosure or a Dealing Disclosure.

Publication on website

 

This Announcement and the documents required to be published pursuant to Rule 26 of the Code will be made available, subject to any applicable restrictions relating to persons resident in Restricted Jurisdictions, on Merlin's website at www.merlinentertainments.biz/recommended-offer and Bidco's website at www.motion-offer.com by no later than 12:00 p.m. on the Business Day following date of publication of this Announcement.  For the avoidance of doubt, save as expressly referred to in this Announcement, the contents of those websites are not incorporated into and do not form 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 rns@lseg.com or visit www.rns.com.
 
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