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Marks Barfield sell stake in London Eye

The London Eye is to be wholly owned by the Tussauds Group following a major refinancing deal. A new 'Flying over Great Britain' attraction is planned.

The Tussauds Group has finalised agreements to acquire the entire financial interests of British Airways and the Marks Barfield family in the British Airways London Eye.

Tussauds, responsible for the management and operation of the Eye since it opened in 2000, will halve the current debt and reduce the rates of interest to commercial levels.

BA will continue its brand association with The Eye by extending its franchise agreement.

Tussauds today announces that it has acquired the Marks Barfield family's 33.3% equity stake in the Eye and will now own 100% of the equity in The Eye.

Marks Barfield, the originators, designers and architect team responsible for the creation of the Eye, will continue to provide architectural services to The Eye.

The London Eye Company has also announced today that rent negotiations with the South Bank Centre and the London Borough of Bromley have been successfully concluded and a 25-year lease is now in place.

Tussauds plans to invest a further 50 million in the Eye, leading to the creation of over 100 further jobs. The programme of investment will include a new interactive 'Flying over Great Britain' experience that introduces visitors to the nation's cultural diversity and its broad variety of landmarks. It is working with VisitBritain on the development and marketing of this attraction.

"All parties have been working hard to secure the Eye's long-term future and it is excellent news for all stakeholders that this has now been achieved," commented Tussauds chief executive Peter Phillipson. "We are looking forward to working closely with the London Eye team in pursuing existing and new development opportunities for the Eye ... we will ensure The Eye continues to evolve and remains a British icon for many years to come."

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