Clearwater International has advised the shareholders of Away Resorts, the UK holiday park owner and operator, on its agreed sale to mid-market private equity house LDC. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.
Away Resorts was established in 2008 by an experienced Management team, led by MD Carl Castledine with funding from CBPE Capital (“CBPE”). The company acquired its first park, Whitecliff Bay on the Isle of Wight, later the same year. Since then, the company has increased its offering to four parks comprising Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire, Mill Rythe in Hampshire and most recently Barmouth Bay in Snowdonia National Park.
The company – which employs over 250 staff – achieved a turnover of over €30m in 2014, delivering high-quality, value for money holidays and offering a wide range of accommodation. The business has developed an enviable brand, with parks famed for the quality of entertainment and leisure facilities.
The transaction provides a successful exit for CBPE while providing Management with a new partner to support the business in the delivery of its growth strategy. The UK holiday park market continues to be highly fragmented with opportunity for further market consolidation.
A team at Clearwater International advised the vendors, led by partners Gareth Iley and Chris Smith with support from associate director Alper Dervish and associate James Clifford. Partner Mark Taylor and associate director Tom Barnwell of Clearwater International’s Debt Advisory team advised on debt financing for the transaction after running a competitive process with funders.
Carl Castledine, Managing Director of Away Resorts, commented: “We are delighted to have agreed the secondary MBO of the business with the support of LDC, which also provided a successful exit for our original investors. Clearwater International provided invaluable advice to the shareholders, displaying in-depth knowledge of the holiday parks market and an understanding of funders’ appetite for the sector, as well as delivering pragmatic solutions.”
Gareth Iley, partner and head of consumer at Clearwater International, said: “Since CBPE backed the Management team to create a new holiday park group in 2008, the business has successfully acquired four parks and developed a truly differentiated offering to both holiday makers and caravan owners. We were delighted to advise the shareholders on this transaction which achieves a successful exit for CBPE. The Management and their new financial backers at LDC have a great opportunity to delivery future growth through organic expansion and selective park acquisitions.”