Skift Take

Better keep looking in that rear-view mirror Disney. Lego's building something big.

Merlin Entertainments Plc, the operator of more than 100 visitor attractions worldwide, will open its first Legoland theme park in South Korea, one of Asia’s biggest markets for Lego toys.

The park in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, will cost an estimated 300 billion won ($270 million) and is scheduled to open in 2017, the Poole, England-based company said in a statement today. Merlin already has six Legoland parks in five countries.

“South Korea offers both a developed theme park market and strong Lego brand recognition,” Chief Executive Officer Nick Varney said in the statement. He reiterated a target to open a new Legoland park every two to three years on average.

Merlin, which runs attractions including Madame Tussauds waxworks, will invest about 100 billion won and the rest will be funded by a consortium of local public and private investors. Lego bricks have been sold in South Korea since 1984 and the country is now one of Lego A/S’s largest markets in Asia. The Danish toymaker divested its Legoland theme parks almost 10 years ago.

Merlin shares rose 1.4 percent to 371.8 pence at 8:57 a.m. in London, taking the advance to 3.9 percent this year and giving the company a market value of about 3.8 billion pounds ($6 billion).

To contact the reporter on this story: Katarina Gustafsson in Stockholm at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at

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Tags: legoland, madame tussauds, south korea, theme parks

Photo Credit: Guests aim water cannons as they participate in a ride at the World of Chima attraction at Legoland in Orlando, Florida. Marjie Lambert / Miami Herald/MCT