Blackstone‘s 18-month ownership of venerable UK holiday resort chain Butlin’s could already be coming to an end amid report of a £300m buy-back offer from the family behind the company’s former owners.
The Harris Family, who co-founded Bourne Leisure in the 1960s, sold a majority stake in Bourne to Blackstone through a £3bn deal in January last year, giving the buyout major control of its Haven, Butlin’s and Warner Leisure Hotels brands.
Blackstone is understood to be looking to expand the business by grafting on a string of UK caravan parks amid a boom in staycationing in the country in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But earlier this year it hired Rothschilds to run an auction of the Butlin’s part of the business, the FT reported, picking up interest from fellow buyout houses including Epiris, Bain Capital and Terra Firma Capital Partners.
It added that UK pension giant the Universities Superannuation Scheme agreed to buy Butlin’s underlying real estate assets for £300m.
The Harris family buyout of Butlin’s operating business could be closed within the next two weeks, the report said, citing an unnamed source it said was briefed on the negotiations.
It added that the £600m total from the sale of Butlin’s operating and real estate segments compared favourable with its financials, given it made up between 15% and 20% of Bourne’s overall earnings.
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