Brookfield agrees to acquire Center Parcs from Blackstone
Blackstone (NYSE: BX) and Brookfield Property Partners L.P. (NYSE: BPY; TSX: BPY.UN) announce that a Brookfield-managed fund has agreed to acquire Center Parcs UK for an undisclosed sum from funds managed by Blackstone’s private equity and real estate businesses.
The transaction is due to complete by the end of July.
Center Parcs 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 approximately 97% over the last five years.
Ric Clark, chief executive officer of Brookfield Property Group, said: "To date, Brookfield Property Group’s investment activity in the UK has focused primarily on the office and logistics market; however, our global portfolio has always encompassed a broader mix of asset types including property deriving its returns from leisure activities. Center Parcs’ villages are high-quality, popular short break destinations for friends and families, with loyal guests and outstanding service. Although these resorts are already producing steady streams of cash flow supported by nearly full occupancy year-round, we see compelling opportunities to grow the business and enhance our investment returns."
Gerry Murphy, Chairman of The Blackstone Group International Partners LLP, said: "Having bought Center Parcs in 2006 and invested in its growth, it has been an excellent investment for us. We are sure that it will go on to even greater success under new ownership. The management and employees of Center Parcs are outstanding and will take the business onto a new chapter in its story."
Martin Dalby, Chief Executive of Center Parcs, said: "This announcement marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Center Parcs. From the first time we met, Brookfield has demonstrated a real understanding of our business and I am absolutely convinced that we can work together to achieve our strategic goals. I believe the future of Center Parcs is in very good hands with Brookfield. Under Blackstone’s ownership, Center Parcs has flourished, and I would like to thank them for their support and commitment to our business."
Rothschild, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley acted as advisors to Blackstone.