London eye sold to Tussauds

The London Eye is set for a £50m (€72.9m) cash injection after British Airways sold its stake in the top-selling attraction today.

About 100 new jobs are expected to be created following the deal with The Tussauds Group, which acquired BA’s one third stake for £100m (€146m) and its outstanding loan to the company.

The group, one of the iconic structure’s founding shareholders, also announced today it had reached a settlement with Marks Barfield, the originators and architects of the Eye, to acquire its one third stake – which means Tussauds will own 100% of the equity in the giant wheel.

It is thought the deal with husband-and-wife team David Marks and Julia Barfield could be worth more than £10m (14.6m).

And the South Bank Centre and the British Airways London Eye announced they have finalised a new 25-year lease agreement securing the future of the site.

Under the terms of the lease the South Bank will receive a minimum of £500,000 (€729,000) a year.

As debts for the Eye, the UK's most popular paid-for attraction with 3.7 million visitors, spiralled to £175.2m (€255.5m), fears for its future grew.

But Tussauds intends to halve the debt and reduce the rates of interest to commercial levels that are sustainable and within the capacity of The Eye.

Peter Phillipson, chief executive of The Tussauds Group, said: “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.”

He said the Eye, which opened on London’s South Bank in 2000, had not previously been able to benefit from development investment due to the disparate agendas of the owners.

More in this Section

Peter Mark hair salon profits up 44% to €1.6mPeter Mark hair salon profits up 44% to €1.6m

Income of €89,000 for Dublin first time buyersIncome of €89,000 for Dublin first time buyers

Proposed strike at refinery suspendedProposed strike at refinery suspended

Teagasc appoint cattle expertsTeagasc appoint cattle experts


Antibiotics will not speed up recovery from a viral infection and can make the child feel worse, says Dr Phil KieranBattling bacteria: The pros and cons of giving antibiotics to children

I had to turn off Dublin Murders with 15 minutes to go. We were watching the first episode because I had to review it the following day for the Today Show on RTÉ.Learner Dad: 'I like to see myself as relaxed but I’m obviously bottling up a fair few anxieties'

Purchasing a thatched cottage was a decision that would change Liam Broderick’s life. Kya deLongchamps meets the long-time thatcherMade in Munster: Meet Cork thatcher Liam Broderick

We take a trip back through the Wolves singer’s most major fashion moments.As Selena Gomez surprises fans with new music, these are some of her best style moments

More From The Irish Examiner