3 weeks ago
Madame Tussauds is a wax museum in London; it has smaller museums in a number of other major cities. It was founded by waxsculptor Marie Tussaud. It used to be spelled as "Madame Tussaud's"; the apostrophe is no longer used. Madame Tussauds is a major tourist attraction in London, displaying the waxworks of famous and historical figures, as well as popular film and television characters.
In 2005, Madame Tussauds was sold to a company in Dubai, Dubai International Capital, for £800m (US$1.5bn). In May 2007 Blackstone Group purchased The Tussauds Group from then-owner Dubai International Capital for US$1.9 billion; the company was merged with Blackstone's Merlin Entertainments and operation of Madame Tussauds was taken over by Merlin. After the Tussauds acquisition, Dubai International Capital gained 20% of Merlin Entertainment. The Tussauds Group as a separate entity ceased to exist.
On 17 July 2007, as part of the financing for the Tussauds deal, Merlin sold the freehold of Madame Tussauds to private investor Nick Leslau and his investment firm Prestbury under a sale and leaseback agreement. Although the attraction sites are owned by Prestbury, they are operated by Merlin based on a renewable 35-year lease.