A Travers Smith team led by senior partner Chris Hale has advised management on the acquisition by funds managed by Brookfield Property Partners of Center Parcs UK from private equity and real estate funds managed by Blackstone. The transaction sees Brookfield agree to acquire a majority stake in the business with the remaining stake held by management. The transaction is due to complete by the end of July.
The Travers Smith team also included corporate associates Adam Orr, Matthew Kichenside, Victoria Bramall and Adam Martin. Tax advice was provided by head of tax Kathleen Russ and tax associate Andrew Callaghan. Advice was provided to management in respect of the aborted IPO process by corporate finance partner Adrian West and associate Ben Hanglin.
Center Parcs UK operates five short break destinations across the UK: Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire; Elveden Forest, Suffolk; Longleat Forest, Wiltshire; Whinfell Forest, Cumbria and Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire. In 2015, Center Parcs expects to welcome more than two million guests. The Center Parcs concept originated in Holland in 1967, with Sherwood Forest opening in the UK in 1987. Each Center Parcs is nestled within around 400 acres of protected and enhanced woodland, with the holiday village designed to complement and work with the forest environment. Center Parcs UK is a separate entity to Center Parcs Europe. Center Parcs UK's occupancy levels have averaged 97% over the last five years.
Blackstone was represented by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. Mayer Brown LLP acted for Brookfield. Management were also provided with corporate finance advice by PricewaterhouseCoopers.