Private equity giant CVC backs staycation boom with a £250m deal to buy UK holiday parks
Private equity firm CVC is seeking to cash in on the ‘staycations’ boom by snapping up a UK holiday parks owner for £250million.
With foreign holidays thwarted by pandemic restrictions, many British families are taking breaks nearer home.
That has benefited Away Resorts, based in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, which has seen demand for space at its nine sites rocket.
Staycation boom: Private equity firm CVC has snapped up UK holiday parks owner Away Resorts in a £250m deal
Its park in St Ives, Cornwall – just a stone’s throw from Carbis Bay where the G7 summit was held – is fully booked for the rest of the year.
And CVC is seeking to capitalise by taking over the company. It is the latest buyout in a string of UK takeovers mounted by private equity firms, which some critics have branded ‘pandemic plundering’.
Butlins owner Bourne Leisure was recently taken over by Blackstone while Madame Tussauds and Legoland are also owned by private equity.
Park Holidays and Verdant Leisure are currently up for sale. Away Resorts, which was founded in 2008 by Carl Castledine, Neill Ryder and Greg Lashley and welcomes 200,000 people a year at sites including Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire, was taken over by Freshstream, another private equity company, in 2019.
Freshstream put the resorts firm up for sale this year. CVC said the business was ‘well-positioned’ to take advantage of the staycations trend and promised to upgrade and expand its property portfolio.
Private equity deals have snapped up a series of British firms in deals worth tens of billions of pounds during the pandemic.
The debt-fuelled spree has sparked concerns, with critics warning it could put jobs and pensions at risk if the deals go awry.
The Mail is campaigning for greater transparency in the sector and for an end to sharp practices.