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Canadians put Center Parcs up for sale with a £5bn price tag

Center Parcs put up for sale by its Canadian private equity owner with a £5bn price tag

Center Parcs has been put up for sale by its Canadian private equity owner with a price tag of between £4billion and £5billion.

This could net a windfall for Brookfield – chaired by former Bank of England governor Mark Carney – which bought the holiday resort group from Blackstone for £2.4billion in 2015.

Brookfield has reportedly been looking to ditch its investment since last year.

Family favourite: Center Parcs – which hosts two million guests a year – has been put up for sale by its Canadian owners

Investment bankers appointed by the firm have been sounding out potential buyers in the past week, the Financial Times reported.

Brookfield declined to comment.

Center Parcs runs five holiday villages in the UK and one in Ireland, drawing millions of visitors to its forest locations and offering accommodation, together with activities such as water sports, quad biking and tennis. 

It was originally part of a Dutch business, which opened its first site in the UK in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, in 1987.

After adding further sites, the UK arm was spun off and floated on the stock market in 2003 before Blackstone bought it in 2006.

Center Parcs reopened its Republic of Ireland and UK sites in 2021 after the pandemic forced them to close.

The business’s real estate was independently valued at £4.1billion last month. It hosts more than 2m guests a year with 98 per cent occupancy, according to Brookfield. 

The Canadian firm’s investment in Center Parcs since its acquisition has included £100million on tech upgrades alone.

Revenues for the year to April 21, 2022 hit a record £503.4million and profits returned to the black, with a £245.6million haul following a Covid-induced loss the year before.

Brookfield’s plan to sell Center Parcs comes amid a rash of other deals in the sector, with holiday camp chain Butlin’s sold to its former owners the Harris family for £300million last September. 

UK operator Parkdean Resorts has also been up for sale. In June 2021, private equity group CVC Capital Partners bought Away Resorts for £250million followed by Aria Resorts in August.