Home Business Six Nations backer CVC plots £4bn takeover of Center Parcs

Six Nations backer CVC plots £4bn takeover of Center Parcs

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The former owner of F1 motor racing is preparing to table a takeover bid for the upmarket chain of holiday resorts owned by Brookfield Property Partners, Sky News learns.
City editor
Monday 5 June 2023 13:08, UK
The private equity backer of the Six Nations rugby championship is among the suitors pursuing a takeover of Center Parcs, the British chain of holiday resorts.
Sky News has learnt that a vehicle managed by CVC Capital Partners is expected to table an indicative proposal to buy Center Parcs’ six sites in the UK and Ireland ahead of a bid deadline later this month.
City sources said on Monday that a number of infrastructure funds, including French-based Antin, were also exploring whether to make offers for the company.
If CVC does table a bid, it would be through its long-term Strategic Opportunities fund, the sources added.
CVC is one of the world’s biggest private equity firms, having owned businesses including Formula One motor racing and the bookmaker William Hill.
It is likely to be a strong contender in the auction, although industry sources suggested on Monday that bids were expected to be lodged in the lower half of a recently touted £4bn-£5bn price range.
Center Parcs has been owned by Brookfield Property Partners, the Canadian property giant, since 2015.
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Brookfield has hired Bank of America, Barclays and Eastdil Secured to manage the sale.
Center Parcs has seen a strong rebound in its performance since the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is one of the most famous brands in the British leisure industry, drawing millions of visitors annually to its five UK sites and the latest addition to its portfolio, at Longford Forest in Ireland.
Its locations offer a mixture of adventure and leisure activities for families, such as watersports and horse riding, as well as spa packages.
The company opened its first site in the UK in 1987 at Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire.
Its other UK locations are at Elveden Forest in Suffolk; Longleat Forest in Wiltshire; Whinfell Forest in Cumbria; and Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire.
Center Parcs has been a public company in the past, floating on London’s junior AIM market in 2003 before moving to a main market listing two years later.
It was then taken over by Blackstone, the private equity firm, in 2006, before being sold to Brookfield in 2015 in a deal reported to have been worth £2.4bn.
Blackstone is also said to be considering whether to bid to buy the company back.
Center Parcs’ UK and Ireland operations are owned separately to the European business that also trades under the brand.
The brand dates back to 1968, when the first village opened in the Netherlands.
Run by Martin Dalby, its chief executive for more than 20 years, Center Parcs’ shareholders have received hundreds of millions of pounds in dividends since Brookfield bought the business.
An initial bid deadline of June 20 is understood to have been set by the company’s advisers.
CVC declined to comment.
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