The Saga Of The Eye Continues

By Rob Last edited 159 months ago
The Saga Of The Eye Continues

In the latest chapter of what is surely the city's most troubled attraction, British Airways has been accused of "betrayal" over their decision to sell their third share in the Londion Eye to the Tussauds Group.

Architects David Marks and Julia Byfield, who own a third of the attraction thmemselves were negotiating with BA to buy their stake and had put together a funding package along with Tussauds, who also owned a third stake (are you still with us?).

Basically the two sides of the argument go like this:

The Architects: Claim they were 'frozen out' of the discussions. Quoted as saying "BA told us over a year ago that they wished to exit the London Eye Company elegantly and invited consensual bids. We worked long and hard to arrive at a deal which would have worked for all three shareholders and, most important of all, safeguarded the London Eye as an independent company for future generations to enjoy." Also claim that BA were "deeply unprofessional and duplicitous," and "dragged this out and strung us along".

British Airways: Claim that when they got involved back in 1998 the Eye only had planning permission for five years. Quoted as saying that "There were no consensual bids put forward at any stage. We feel we acted in good faith throughout and this is the best outcome. The Eye is getting a world class operator that is going to invest in its future."

The total debt on the Eye now stands at around the £175m mark, although BA has agreed to sell the stake along with the debt for £95m.

For their part Tussauds plans to invest £50m in the Eye over the next five years creating, it says, 100 jobs in the process.

Read more in the Telegraph, the Guardian, the Times, and the BBC.

Last Updated 11 November 2005