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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 March, 2005, 12:50 GMT
Dubai firm buys Tussauds
Figures including George Bush, Saddam Hussein and Tony Blair in Madame Tussauds
Tussauds is a place where international figures get together
World-famous waxworks museum Madame Tussauds is being sold off together with a number of theme parks to a company in Dubai for 800m ($1.5bn).

Seventy managers of the Tussauds Group are in line for a combined windfall of 30m as a result of the deal with Dubai International Capital (DIC).

The company is a private equity group backed by Dubai's government.

As well as the waxworks museum, Tussauds operates Alton Towers and has a one-third stake in the London Eye.

Madame Tussauds began in 1802 and the umbrella group was bought by Charterhouse Capital in 1998. Tussauds also runs Chessington World of Adventures and Thorpe Park and has attractions in New York, Las Vegas and Hong Kong.

Every year its entertainments attract more than 14 million guests, and its new owners say they want to expand the business further.

Expanding Gulf

DIC is an investment arm of Dubai Holding owned by Dubai Crown Prince Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The Tussauds deal is its second major transaction this year.

In late January, DIC acquired a 1bn stake in DaimlerChrysler, making it the third biggest shareholder in the German car giant after Deutsche Bank and the government of Kuwait.

Following the acquisition, Tussauds' executive management team, led by chief executive Peter Phillipson, will remain running the businesses.

Mr Phillipson said the sale offers new opportunities for growth.

"We now look forward to working closely with DIC to accelerate our growth plans, explore new opportunities and create even more exciting experiences for our 14 million guests," he said.

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