Tussauds takes over London Eye
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Tussauds takes over London Eye

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Tussauds Group has become the sole owner of the British Airways London Eye – the UK’s most popular visitor attraction.

Tussauds, which already owned two-thirds of the LondonEye, acquired the remaining stake in the company from the architects who designed the attraction – David Marks and Julia Barfield – for a reported £10m.

The move comes after British Airways (BA) sold its stake in the London Eye Company (LEC) to Tussauds in November 2005 for £95m.

David Marks said the decision to sell was made after the architects' own bid to take control of the attraction was foiled by BA having sold its share to Tussauds.

"BA's decision to deal direct with Tussauds left us with some pretty stark choices," he said.

"In the final analysis, the best solution was to reach a settlement with Tussauds and the arrangement means we will no longer be involved in the Eye on a day-to-day basis."

Marks admitted that he was reluctant to sell and described the decision to let go of the company as "embracing what cannot be avoided".

Tussauds, which is owned by Arab Emirates-based Dubai International Capital (DCI), has been responsible for the management and operation of the London Eye the since its inception in 2000.

The group intends to invest around £50m in the attraction and the surrounding area over the next five years, creating more than 100 new jobs.

The acquisition was followed by the news that the LEC has finally settled its long-standing rent row with the South Bank Centre and signed a new 25-year to keep the Eye on its current site.

Based on a percentage of the attraction’s annual turnover, the new deal will see LEC paying the South Bank Centre a minimum of £500,000 in rent a year. Details: www.londoneye.com

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Tussauds Group has become the sole owner of the British Airways London Eye – the UK’s most popular visitor attraction.
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