Underwater World at Mooloolaba has been sold to a large UK tourism firm.
Underwater World at Mooloolaba has been sold to a large UK tourism firm. Che Chapmanb

Underwater World sold to UK firm

A LEADING UK-based visitor attraction operator is in the process of acquiring the ownership of Mooloolaba-based tourist magnet UnderWater World.

British company Merlin Entertainments Group yesterday confirmed the unconditional takeover of Living and Leisure Australia Group.

Rob Smith, Merlin's sales and marketing director for Australia and New Zealand, yesterday declined to reveal what, if any, impact the move would have on UnderWater World's operations.

Mr Smith also declined to comment on whether jobs at the attraction were secure, but said the business would keep operating.

LLA owns and operates a range of premier leisure attractions in the Asia Pacific.

"As you can imagine we are very excited and delighted to now have these wonderful attractions as part of the Merlin portfolio, and very much look forward to realising their full potential," Mr Smith said.

"Merlin's growth and continuing success lies very much in our strategy of continuous investment in all our attractions."

A Merlin representative said its offer of $5.14 per LLA security was the highest price it would pay.

Given there had been acceptances for more than 90% of LLA securities, the LLA board did not expect any superior proposal to emerge, the representative said.

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