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Legoland Owner Merlin Catches Eye of Activist Investor ValueAct

The owner of Madame Tussauds waxworks and Legoland theme parks has caught the attention of an activist investor.

Merlin Entertainments Plc announced Monday that ValueAct Capital Management, the fund run by Jeff Ubben, has a 5.4 percent stake. The news helped extend a recent rebound in the stock, which had slumped to within a whisker of its 2013 initial public offering price. The shares climbed as much as 3.9 percent on Monday.

San Francisco-based ValueAct manages more than $15 billion, according to the firm’s website. Its stake in Merlin sits alongside holdings in companies such as private equity giant KKR & Co., Morgan Stanley, Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. and Microsoft Corp., data compiled by Bloomberg show.

A Merlin spokesman said the company maintains “strong relationships with all of our major shareholders,” though doesn’t comment on specific investor dialogue. A ValueAct representative declined to comment.

Merlin shares have rebounded about 10 percent to 351.5 pence since falling to a near record low on Feb. 12. The stock, which has been hurt by a weak London day-trip market and sterling’s strength against the dollar, has never traded below the 315 pence that it was sold at in the 2013 IPO.

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