Pension plans take an interest in space, Lego, wax museums

By Canadian Investment Review | June 28, 2019 | Last updated on June 28, 2019
2 min read
Space shuttle taking off on a mission
© Fernando Gregory Milan / 123RF Stock Photo

This article originally ran on our sister site, Benefits Canada.

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is investing in Space Exploration Technologies Corp., more commonly known as SpaceX.

The company, which was founded by Elon Musk, designs, manufactures and operates advanced rockets and spacecraft.

It’s the inaugural investment of the Ontario Teachers’ late-stage venture capital and equity growth platform, the Teachers’ Innovation Platform, which was launched this April to support companies using technology to create new sectors or disrupt existing ones. The financial terms of the investment weren’t disclosed.

“Our investment in SpaceX fits well within the TIP investment strategy of capitalizing on significant global opportunities in new businesses and sectors that are emerging as a result of unprecedented technological change,” said Olivia Steedman, the senior managing director of the Teachers’ Innovation Platform, in a press release.

SpaceX is working on launching Starlink, a satellite network to connect the globe with reliable and affordable broadband internet services.

“SpaceX is the world’s leading private space launch provider, and we are excited to work with the company in the next phase of its growth as it rolls out its Starlink satellite network,” added Steedman.

In other investment news, a consortium of long-term investors, including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, has agreed to the terms of a recommended offer for British company Merlin Entertainments, the owner of Legoland and a number of other global family attractions, including Madame Tussauds wax museums.

The consortium, which also includes Kirkbi Invest, the ultimate owner of the Lego brand since 2005, and funds managed by the Blackstone Group, is offering a price of 455 pence per share in cash, for the entire issued, and to be issued, share capital of Merlin, other than those shares already owned by Kirkbi, which is an existing 29.58% shareholder in the company.

The offer, which values Merlin at about £4.77 billion, will be made by a newly incorporated company that was formed on behalf of the consortium, with Kirkbi and the Blackstone/CCPIB group owning 50% upon completion.

“Merlin has established itself as a globally diversified, world-class operator of themed attractions and entertainment,” said Ryan Selwood, managing director and head of direct private equity at CPPIB, in a press release. “Its ability to partner with a number of leading global brands to deliver high-quality family entertainment has been key to Merlin’s success.

“Through close collaboration with our partners, we look forward to promoting the steady growth, long-term capitalization and continued international expansion of this business, which aligns well with CPPIB’s long-horizon investment strategy.”

The consortium expects the transaction to be completed by the end of 2019.

Canadian Investment Review