What will be the fate of Center Parcs, the chain of holiday villages famous for its massive swimming pools, boating lakes and cycle-mounted residents? The chain’s current private equity owner, Blackstone, has held the company for more than eight years and has been looking at a number of options including an IPO - but could also end up offloading it to a private buyer.
According to Sky News, Formula One's biggest shareholder CVC has teamed up with the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore to launch a joint £2.5bn bid for the company. Obviously nobody is confirming anything specific, but Center Parcs did say it was looking at options for a deal.
‘No decision has been taken as to whether to proceed with any such transaction and, if Center Parcs does decide to proceed with a transaction, an announcement will be made at the appropriate time,’ the company said in a statement today.
If CVC does make an offer, it could face stiff competition. BC Partners, another private equity firm, and the Canada Pension Plan are thought to have offered Blackstone £2bn for the resorts last year.
The deal was rejected but they’ve now teamed up with yet another private equity firm, KSL Capital, to have another go. Blackstone must be licking its lips at the prospect of a bidding war.
So what does CVC want with Center Parcs? MT wonders if its simply looking for somewhere to put Bernie Ecclestone out to pasture when the long-time F1 supremo is finally toppled. With its mild-mannered populace, fresh air and country walks, Center Parcs would be the ideal retirement home – Ecclestone might lament the lack of cars though.