Center Parcs owner hires Barclays to prepare £4bn sale | business news

The owner of Britain’s largest chain of upmarket holiday villages is hiring bankers to oversee a review of its options that could pave the way for a £4bn auction.

Sky News understands that Brookfield Property Partners, the Canadian property giant, is on the verge of appointing Barclays to advise on the future of Center Parcs UK – an investment the company has held since 2015.

Possible alternatives for Brookfield are an outright sale, divestment of a minority stake, or an IPO.

Center Parcs UK recently had the most profitable half-year in its history, despite operating restrictions caused by the pandemic.

Barclays is a significant lender to the company and is said to have provided particular support to the company in the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis.

It has yet to be officially discontinued by Brookfield, but an insider said it was very likely it would win a role in a strategic review of Center Parcs UK.

One of the best known brands in the UK leisure industry, Center Parcs attracts millions of visitors each year to its five UK locations and the latest addition to its portfolio in Longford Forest, Ireland.

Its locations offer a mix of adventure and fun activities for families, like water sports and horseback riding, as well as spa packages.

The company opened its first UK location at Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire in 1987.

The other UK locations are in Elveden Forest in Suffolk; Longleat Forest in Wiltshire; Whinfell Forest in Cumbria; and Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire.

Center Parcs currently operates five locations in the UK

Center Parcs was historically a listed company, listing on London’s junior AIM market in 2003 before moving to a main market listing two years later.

It was then acquired by Blackstone, the private equity firm, in 2006 before being sold to Brookfield in 2015 in a deal worth £2.4bn.

Center Parcs’ operations in the UK and Ireland are separate from the European company which also trades under the brand.

The brand dates back to 1968 when the first village in the Netherlands was opened.

Center Parcs has been run by Martin Dalby, the Chief Executive, for more than 20 years and Center Parcs shareholders have received hundreds of millions of pounds in dividends since Brookfield bought the company.

Any auction of the company would follow a plethora of other deals in the UK holiday sector, with companies such as Park Leisure, Forest Holidays and Park Holidays all changing hands recently, raising deals totaling more than £1.3bn.

The UK’s largest operator, Parkdean Resorts, is also set to be sold in the coming months, with Butlin’s, one of the most prominent names in the industry, also up for sale.

Center Parcs declined to comment.

Center Parcs owner hires Barclays to prepare £4bn sale | business news

Source link Center Parcs owner hires Barclays to prepare £4bn sale | business news

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