Investors circle for potential £600m Butlin’s purchase

UK: A number of private equity and real estate investors are circling to invest in a potential £600 million purchase of seaside resort chain Butlin’s.

Butlin’s, which was founded in 1936 by Billy Butlin, is being eyed up by Terra Firma Capital Partners, Queensgate, Bain Capital, Epiris and TDR Capital, according to Sky News.

The holiday camp chain belongs to the Bourne Leisure Group, which also includes Haven Holidays and Warner Leisure Hotels. It is believed that Terra Firm, whose founder and chairman is prominent financier Guy Hands, has tabled an offer for three holiday resorts, after last year’s decision by Bourne Leisure and owner Blackstone to put the brand up for sale.

It was concluded that the Butlin’s brand was no longer the right fit for the rest of the group.

The chain’s fortunes have fluctuated in recent years. In its pomp, Butlin’s operated nine sites across the UK and attracted around a million holidaymakers on an annual basis, whereas it now manages three sites in Bognor Regis, Minehead in Somerset, and Skegness in Lincolnshire.

However, resorts such as those under the Butlin’s brand have enjoyed something of a renaissance during the pandemic as holidaymakers have been forced to look closer to home for staycations due to concerns over infections and unpredictable travel restrictions. Furthermore, the domestic cost of living crisis is likely to sustain that trend for a longer period as consumers feel the pinch on spending.

Investment bank Rothschild is handling the sale of Butlin’s.