Deal in the offing for Center Parcs UK
Monday 8th December 2003 13:35
Center Parcs UK, which owns four forest-based holiday parks, is likely to be sold to asset management firm Collins Stewart by the end of the week, and could eventually be floated on the Alternative Investment Market.
Its owner, private equity firm MidOcean Partners, has been looking to sell or float the business for some time. A spokesman said Collins Stewart was currently the lead bidder. No figure has been mentioned, but newspapers have estimated the deal at £300m.
This August, MidOcean Partners sold its 50% stake in Center Parcs Europe - which comprises 10 holiday parks in Holland, Belgium, France and Germany - to Pierre Vacances for £189m.
Center Parcs was owned by Scottish & Newcastle from 1989, then sold to Deutsche Bank in 2001. It then passed into the hands of MidOcean, which was created this February by the managers of Deutsche Bank's private equity arm, DB Capital Partners.
The concept of the forest-based holiday park was created in northern Europe in 1967, and the first UK park opened at Sherwood Forest near Nottingham in 1987.
The UK operation, with nearly 3,000 villas, apartments and hotel bedrooms, also has parks in Elveden Forest in Suffolk, Longleat Forest near Bath and Oasis Whinfell Forest in the Lake District.