Guy Hands, one among Britain’s most outstanding financiers, is plotting a £600m swoop on Butlin’s, the chain of vacation camps.
Sky News has learnt that Mr Hands’ Terra Firma Capital Partners is among the many handful of bidders competing to purchase Butlin’s from Bourne Leisure.
Terra Firma, which has been largely recast because the Hands household’s personal funding car, is claimed to have tabled a suggestion for the three vacation resorts, though it was unclear on Monday how severe his curiosity is.
Mr Hands’ involvement within the public sale pitches him in opposition to a quartet of personal fairness and actual property buyers, even because the cost-of-living disaster threatens to affect the valuations of corporations uncovered to UK shopper spending.
Sources mentioned Terra Firma was bidding in opposition to Queensgate, Bain Capital, Epiris and TDR Capital for Butlin’s, whose model was created by its eponymous founder, Billy Butlin, in 1936.
Bourne Leisure, which additionally trades beneath the Haven and Warner Leisure Hotels manufacturers, determined together with proprietor Blackstone to place Butlin’s up on the market final 12 months after concluding that it didn’t match with the remainder of the group.
According to the model’s official historical past, Mr Butlin “felt sorry for families staying in drab guest-houses with nothing much to do” throughout a visit to Barry Island.
In its heyday, Butlin’s operated from 9 websites throughout the UK, entertaining a million holidaymakers every year with knobbly knees competitions and glamorous granny contests.
The model grew to become such an entrenched a part of Britain’s common consciousness that it supplied the inspiration for Hi-de-Hi!, the long-running BBC sitcom.
Its fortunes waned with the explosive progress of alternatives for Britons to vacation overseas, however has loved a resurgence because the pandemic has fuelled a growth in staycations.
Butlin’s different websites at the moment are at Minehead in Somerset and Bognor Regis, the normal seaside city near the South Downs National Park.
Mr Hands’ curiosity in shopping for Butlin’s follows a busy interval of deal exercise involving the agency he based.
The financier had been hatching plans to dump Annington Homes, the Ministry of Defence-occupied housing portfolio, however has been plunged right into a authorized row with the federal government about its future.
He now now not invests from a basic fund however raises capital on a deal-by-deal foundation to purchase corporations.
Last 12 months, Mr Hands purchased Kier Living, which he has rebranded as Tilia, and has since acquired Hopkins Homes, East Anglia’s greatest personal housebuilder.
His efforts to lift a brand new buyout fund faltered within the wake of the EMI debacle, the place he unsuccessfully tried to sue Citi, the financial institution advising on the deal.
Despite his huge wealth, he advised The Daily Telegraph in a current interview that he had discovered happiness an elusive commodity and mentioned he had partly been pushed by a necessity “to be accepted”.
Rothschild, the funding financial institution, is working the sale of Butlin’s.
Terra Firma and Blackstone, Bourne Leisure’s controlling shareholder, declined to remark.