Alton Towers' owner plans flotation

The company behind attractions including the London Eye, Madame Tussauds and Alton Towers has announced plans to float on the London stock market.

Private equity-owned Merlin Entertainments, which operates 99 attractions in 22 countries and received more than 54 million visitors in 2012, is believed to be worth as much as £3 billion.

It said the public offer of shares will enable it to pay down debt and plan for the next stage of its development.

The company generated revenues of more than £1 billion last year and is Europe's leading visitor attraction operator and the second largest globally after Walt Disney. Other sites include Legoland Parks, Chessington World of Adventures and Warwick Castle.

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