Tue, 15 Jun 2021 | BUSINESS SALE
Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has acquired a £250 million majority stake in holiday park company Away Resorts from previous owner Freshstream. Away Resorts has nine UK holiday parks, including sites in the New Forest, Lincolnshire, the Isle of Wight and Cornwall, and receives around 200,000 visitors annually.
CVC’s acquisition comes at a time when the domestic travel market in the UK is booming. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the UK’s “green list” of countries where residents can travel without the need to quarantine is limited to a handful of places, none of which are major holiday destinations. As a result, demand for UK “staycations” is soaring, and this is spurring M&A activity in what remains a highly fragmented sector with ripe opportunities for consolidation.
Away Resorts has acquired three parks since the end of 2020, most recently its site in St Ives, Cornwall. However, despite this growth, it is still struggling to meet demand and many of its parks are close to being fully booked for the rest of the year. CVC’s investment, then, could be crucial in enabling the company to tap into the surging demand for UK holidays.
Away Resorts founder and Chief Executive Carl Castledine said: “We’re really excited to be partnering with CVC to drive the next phase of Away Resorts’ growth. Their experience in helping companies scale and expand their operational and digital footprint will be invaluable as we take our growth to the next level.”
Castledine added: “Freshstream has been the perfect partner for us over the past two years, providing capital to expand and operational and strategic advice to help us scale the business.”
CVC Managing Director David Wells commented: “We have been hugely impressed by the success of Away Resorts’ differentiated, family-oriented holiday park proposition. The business is well positioned in a fragmented and growing market that benefits from strong consumer tailwinds.”
“We are excited to be partnering with Carl and the Away Resorts team to support the development of the platform they have built and accelerate their ambitious expansion plans, through investing in existing parks and by significantly growing the estate over the years to come.”
The deal came after Freshstream, which acquired a majority stake in the company in August 2019, began exploring a sale. Freshstream Principal Gilles Gradassi said: “Since founding the business in 2008, Away Resorts has developed into a highly regarded and innovative holiday operator, well positioned to capitalise on the strong momentum they have generated.”
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