Park Leisure sold to Sun Communities in £182m deal

UK: Premium holiday park operator Park Leisure has been sold to US-based real estate investment trust [REIT] Sun Communities for an enterprise value of £182 million by investment and advisory firm, Midlothian Capital Partners [MCP], and a consortium of investors.

The transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals, as well as the now-confirmed completion of Sun’s acquisition of Park Holidays for £950 million [$1.3 billion], and is expected to close in the second half of this year.

Founded in 1998, Park Leisure operates eleven five-star parks all located in coastal areas or areas of outstanding natural beauty across the UK. In the meantime, the group has built a portfolio of owner-led parks with approximately 2,900 pitches.

Having acquired Park Leisure in 2017, MCP said that it had overseen a period of operational enhancements, as well as “exceptional” growth with EBITDA having more than doubled during their tenure. 

Andrew Bracey of MCP and chairman of Park Leisure, said: “Park Leisure is a great business. We invested significant time and resources to help grow and develop the company over the past five years. We are delighted to hand stewardship to Sun and Park Holidays – we are confident they will support the company in its next phase of growth.  

We wish the business and new owners every success as they embark on the next exciting chapter for Park Leisure,” he added.

Park Leisure CEO Richard Bates said: “We are delighted that Sun Communities has agreed to purchase Park Leisure. As one of the leading holiday operators in the UK we are excited by the opportunity to grow our holiday park footprint even further, continue to enhance our customer experience and to be able to offer more park landscapes and facilities.”

Sun Communities announced the agreed purchase of Park Holidays UK – which owns 42 holiday parks in the UK – in November, with the acquisition representing around seven per cent of Sun’s properties and eight per cent of the company’s total pro forma real estate asset value.

In recent times, the likes of Blackstone, PAI Partners, CVC Capital Partners and KKR have entered the holiday park sector by purchasing Bourne Leisure, European Camping Group, Away Resorts and Roompot respectively. Meanwhile, Newcastle-based holiday park operator Parkdean Resorts is rumoured to be attracting interest from Apollo Global Management for a potential £2 billion takeover, and seaside resort chain Butlin’s is also up for sale.

Meanwhile, companies such as Awaze and Sykes Holiday Cottages have been busy consolidating their own businesses with acquisitions, and Away Resort and Aria Resorts announced a merger in August to form a new £600 million “staycation powerhouse”.