Blackstone is weighing up an offer for Parkdean Resorts in the latest sign that the private equity giant is betting big on the UK domestic holiday market.
The US buyout shop is understood to be considering a bid for the UK’s largest operator of caravan, lodge, cabin, glamping and camping holiday resorts, which has been put up for sale by Canadian investor Onex Corporation.
The move comes just over a year after Blackstone acquired Bourne Leisure Holdings, which runs the Butlin’s and Haven parks, in a deal that valued the company at roughly £3bn.
Executives at Bourne and Blackstone have drafted in Bank of America as they mull the takeover, The Times first reported.
Haide Hong, a London-based senior managing director in Blackstone’s private equity group, told Private Equity News last month that the group is looking to invest in staycation sites amid a boom in domestic tourism that it believes will outlast the pandemic.
Hong said: “Haven has 38 locations but across the UK there are well north of 2,000 individual caravan parks. With that fragmentation we think it’s an opportunity to add additional parks to the portfolio.”
He added that Blackstone has no set target for the number of caravan park acquisitions: “For us we’re open minded – we’ll look at various opportunities. What’s more important is identifying parks with the right underlying quality – the location & potential appeal to consumers.”
From caravan campsites and coastal cottages to lake lodges and hotel mini-breaks, buyout shops are piling into staycation businesses.
READ MORE: Private equity takes a trip to the staycation market
As well as Blackstone’s Bourne acquisition, last year’s biggest deals included Luxembourg-based CVC Capital Partners takinga majority stake in Away Resorts in a deal valued at £250m; and US listed real estate investment trust Sun Communities acquiring Park Holidays UK in a deal that valued the operator at $1.3bn.
Paris-based private equity house PAI Partners is among those scouring the UK market for holiday park opportunities, having lost out in the bidding war for Park Holidays late last year.
PAI partner Bertrand Monier recently told Private Equity News: “For sure we’re interested [in UK opportunities]…There are things moving and a good handful of platforms now owned by private equity, so there’ll be some for sale at some point.”
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