PAI Partners on verge of The Looping Group acquisition
Headquartered in Paris, Looping is a European group that owns and operates 18 local and regional leisure parks, including guest accommodation, theme parks, water parks, wildlife parks and aquariums. Attracting more than six million visitors per year, the group’s parks span eight European countries, including France, the UK, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Croatia, Germany and Portugal.
As it seeks to become a leader in the European leisure park market, Looping has increasingly sought to enhance its portfolio through “highly accretive” merger and acquisition [M&A] activity under the current ownership of Mubadala Capital. PAI Partners’ involvement will allow Looping’s existing management team to drive further organic growth and add to its parks portfolio in the coming years.
Once the prospective acquisition is concluded, Looping will continue to be led by its existing experienced management team, including co-founders, Laurent Bruloy and Stéphane Da Cunha, who will retain a “significant” shareholding in the business.
Bertrand Monier, partner at PAI Partners, said: “Looping is a young company with exciting prospects. Positioned in the resilient budget leisure segment, the group is well placed to benefit from long-term tailwinds that underpin the local leisure park market.
“We look forward to supporting the management team in further structuring the group for the next chapter of growth – and, importantly, to continue delivering an amazing visitor experience,” he added.
Laurent Bruloy, co-founder and CEO of Looping, said: “We are delighted with the opportunity to welcome PAI Partners as a new investor in The Looping Group, a strategic match that would allow our group to accelerate its growth and achieve its full potential in the years to come. This transaction would benefit all stakeholders and marks an exciting new chapter as we continue on our path to becoming the undisputed European leader in regional leisure parks.
“I would like to thank Mubadala Capital and Bpifrance for their valuable contribution to the success of Looping over the past few years,” added Bruloy.
Antoun Ghanem, head of Mubadala Capital’s European private equity investment practice, said: “We have truly enjoyed partnering with Laurent and Stéphane, as well as Looping’s thousands of employees and millions of customers. The Looping management team has done a remarkable job in scaling the business and transforming their leisure parks to be amongst the best in Europe, including navigating a challenging Covid environment that reaffirmed the quality of the team and loyalty of its customer base.
“We are proud of what we have achieved together and are confident that Looping would continue to flourish with the support of PAI Partners in the years ahead,” added Ghanem.
The Looping Group said that it is aiming to triple its business in the next few years, both by developing its existing parks, and by growing its portfolio of activities. The company intends to buy up existing regional sites, build new sites and establish management contracts to operate leisure sites for both private and public bodies including leisure park owners, campsite operators, shopping centres, property developers, local authorities and all bodies concerned with tourism development.
The transaction is set to be submitted to the relevant employee representative bodies of Looping and will be subject to antitrust approvals.
PAI Partners has already invested heavily in the outdoor leisure industry, most notably in Roompot [which formally purchased Landal GreenParks last month], European Camping Group [which acquired Vacanceselect Group for €1 billion in February] and B&B Hotels, as it seeks to strengthen Looping’s position in the segment in Europe.