Takeover worth £1.2 billion in works for caravan giant Parkdean

Parkdean Resorts

by Ed Davies

The former bosses of one of the companies which merged to form Parkdean Resorts are working on an audacious £1.2bn deal to buy back the enlarged caravan and camping business

David Boden and Nigel Brewster, the former chief executive and finance boss of Park Resorts, are understood to be working on the buyout with private equity firm BC Partners, owner of Cote restaurant chain and car rental site Car Trawler.

Sunday Telegraph sources say Mr Boden and his former management team have been in discussion with BC Partners about a takeover for the last few months.

Parkdean Resorts, the UK’s biggest holiday parks business, was created last year following a merger of Parkdean, backed by buyout house Alchemy Partners, and Park Resorts, owned by Electra Private Equity.

Less than a year later Electra and Alchemy have hired bankers at Rothschild to sell the business. First-round bids are expected to be made within the fortnight.

The company’s owners have scrapped the idea of pursuing a stock market flotation after a number of London listings were cancelled in the last two weeks.

The auction for Parkdean has drawn interest from a roster of the biggest names in private equity including Advent, Carlyle, CVC and the UK’s Universities Superannuation Scheme.

One City source said that although private equity players have recently taken a dim view of companies that only operate in the UK following the EU Referendum vote, bidders have been encouraged by a rising demand for UK-based “staycations”, which will increase as the sterling slump makes it more expensive for people to travel abroad.

During the summer Parkdean Resorts posted an 11pc increase in holiday bookings while underlying earnings last year were £120m.
Electra continues to own 45pc in the business while Alchemy and management own the rest.

Former Park Resorts chairman Alan Parker, the former chairman of Whitbread, became chairman of the enlarged company following the merger. It is not known whether he is involved in any new deal.

Parkdean has 73 holiday parks across the country and makes more than £100m in annual profits.

The company also sells caravans and holiday lodges, which industry sources have cautioned makes this arm of the business slightly vulnerable to dips in consumer confidence.

Park Resorts’ caravan parks were spread mainly across northern England, the Lake District and Scotland, while Parkdean Holidays, as the company was then known, ran holiday parks across the south-west of England.