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Blackstone puts confidence in UK market with Butlin's acquisition

Blackstone has completed its acquisition of Bourne Leisure in a deal reportedly worth £3bn.

Among Bourne Leisure’s portfolio is holiday resort chain Butlin’s, which has invested heavily in revamping its conference and event facilities over the last few years.

Funds managed by Blackstone Capital Partners and Blackstone Real Estate Partners have agreed to acquire the group together with the Harris, Cook and Allen founding families, which are co-investing a significant minority shareholders.

Bourne Leisure employs more than 16,000 staff, hosting 25,000 holiday-home owners, and attracting 4.5 million guests to 56 sites across the UK every year.

Along with Butlin’s the group also operate Haven and Warner Leisure Hotels.

Blackstone has invested heavily in wider hospitality, travel, leisure and events sectors. Alongside investment in Center Parcs and current ownership of Merlin, the private equity group took control of the NEC Group in 2018 for £800m.

Lionel Assant, European head of private equity at Blackstone, said the group had confidence in the UK’s domestic market. “We are long-term believers in the UK and are delighted to invest meaningful capital, despite recent uncertainty, to support the recovery of a COVID-impacted industry, and wider local economies,” he said.

Paul Flaum, group chief executive officer of Bourne Leisure said the deal marks the beginning of a new chapter for Bourne Leisure. “Blackstone [has] demonstrated a real understanding of our business and sector, and we look forward to working together to deliver on our exciting plans for the future.

“We are also delighted that our founding families will continue to be involved in the business through their significant family minority co-investment. We see compelling opportunities to grow Haven, Butlin’s and Warner Leisure Hotels.”

Pictured: Butlin's at Bognor Regis