Center Parcs vies with private equity firms in sale of Forest Holidays

 
Lucy White
Forest Holidays runs operations in woodlands across the UK (Source: Flickr)

A number of private equity firms are vying with Center Parcs to buy Forest Holidays, a UK holiday cabin operator which has been put up for sale by its private equity owners, City A.M. has learned.

Bowmark, the owner of City bar chain Drake & Morgan, and Busaba investor Phoenix Equity Partners are in the running, sources told City A.M.

So are Evans Cycles owner ECI and Caledonia Investments, the firm backed by the wealthy Cayzer family.

Read more: Center Parcs back in the black as pre-tax profits hit £70m

Forest Holidays is currently owned by the Forestry Commission and LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group which acquired a stake in 2012.

Its recurring profit before tax hit £7.3m in the year ended March 2017, up from £6.6m the previous year.

A sale to another private equity firm would follow a flurry of activity in the “staycation” market from the asset class over recent months.

Read more: Halfords credits "staycation summer" for revenue rise to help cushion sterling blow

Phoenix already owns Bridge Leisure, while buyout house Equistone acquired holiday home group Willerby earlier this year and Epiris and Alchemy Partners sold Parkdean Resorts to Canadian buyer Onex Corporation for £1.35bn last winter.

According to Sky News, which revealed earlier today that Center Parcs was involved in the bidding process, Parkdean Resorts might also make an offer.

Center Parks itself is owned by a Canada-based property investment giant, Brookfield, which bought the business for £2.4bn in 2015 from Blackstone.

All of the firms involved declined to comment.

Read more: Parkdean and NewDay deals helped European private equity stage late comeback in 2016

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