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London Aquarium bought by London Eye owners

The London Aquarium at County Hall on the South Bank has been bought by Merlin Entertainments, owners of the London Eye and London Dungeon. It will become the flagship of Merlin's chain of Sea Life Centres.

London Aquarium bought by London Eye owners

The new owners say that they will invest 5 million in developing the London Aquarium, which currently welcomes more than 750,000 visitors a year.

Merlin says that it will "reposition the London Aquarium as a fun learning experience for visitors of all ages" by adding more interactive elements.

Merlin Entertainments has also negotiated a 35 year lease on the aquarium's riverside premises at County Hall with landlord Shirayama Shokusan. The attraction opened in 1997 in the basement of the former home of the Greater London Council.

"We believe that the sale of the Aquarium is a positive step in the development of an already successful London attraction," says Audrey Summers, managing director of previous owners County Hall Entertainment.

"County Hall Entertainment will continue to move forward with various new projects that will continue to see London County Hall as a destination of choice in London."

London Dungeon owners Merlin Entertainments acquired the London Eye just over a year ago in a 1 billion takeover of the Tussauds Group.

Glenn Earlam of Merlin Entertainments describes the London Aquarium as "a wonderful site – big enough to be awe inspiring, but also very accessible for visitors. There is no one better qualified than Merlin to operate marine attractions; and when we add the Sea Life "magic" we believe it will once again quickly become a "must see" attraction for both Londoners, and those visiting the capital."

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