The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Merlin Entertainments Group has purchased Cypress Gardens.
A spokeswoman for Merlin said the purchase includes the current Cypress Gardens theme park, the Splash Island water park and the adjacent botanical gardens. The company did not disclose the sales price.
Merlin is the second busiest amusement operator in the world. Its holdings include Legoland theme parks, Madame Tussaud’s wax museums and the London Eye.
The acquisition also increases the already substantial presence of private-equity colossus The Blackstone Group in Central Florida’s theme-park industry. Blackstone, which has fall purchased SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and co-owns Universal Orlando, holds a majority stake in Merlin.
Last June, we reported rumors of Legoland possibly coming to Central Florida. Some Legoland visitors took a Legoland online survey which asked their thoughts about visiting Legoland Florida if it were to be built. It also asked what they thought about Legoland being built where Cypress Gardens is located.
Cypress Gardens closed last September after a months-long closing and removing all of their rides, then reopening with just the gardens and ski show.
A press conference has been scheduled for next Thursday to discuss the sale. The Stars of Florida Waterski Show Web site also lists Jan. 21 as an important date, stating “Check back to this website for news on Cypress Gardens! Jan. 21st could be a big day!”