Friday, September 21, 2018

Merlin Entertainments is calling on Peppa Pig to boost revenue as a trading update sees its shares plunge.

The owner of UK attractions including Madame Tussauds and Alton Towers has announced two intellectual property tie-ups, one with Entertainment One, which is behind the cartoon pig, and another with celebrity adventurer Bear Grylls.

Under the deal with Entertainment One, Merlin has exclusive rights in all territories except China to offer new attractions and themed accommodation based around Peppa Pig. New attractions are expected to open by the end of 2019.

The announcement comes as Merlin revealed the impact of recent terror attacks on its UK trading.

Merlin’s trading update showed flat like-for-like revenue growth in the 40 weeks to 7 October. It blamed a dip in its key summer period on the series of attacks in Britain.

Merlin chief executive Nick Varney said: “The spate of terror attacks witnessed in the UK marked an inflection point in Midway London and UK theme park trading.”

Shares in Merlin Entertainments dropped by 20 per cent after its trading update.

On the Entertainment One deal, Mr Varney said in a statement: “Global Intellectual Property is an important part of our strategic growth and Peppa Pig is an exceptionally strong brand.”

He added: “The roll out of new attractions as part of this deal will further diversify our portfolio – by brand, customer type and geography.”

Meanwhile, the business will partner with Mr Grylls in attractions focused on adventure experiences with the first set to launch in Birmingham in 2018.