Private equity firm takes £250m stake in UK holiday park operator

A private equity group is paying £250 million to take a majority shareholding in UK holiday park operator Away Resorts.

Away Resorts runs nine parks in UK holiday destinations, including Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire and Sandy Balls in the New Forest, welcoming almost 200,000 holidaymakers a year.

The move comes against the backdrop of a surge in demand for domestic breaks as government Covid restrictions limit overseas holiday options.

CVC Capital Partners reached an agreement to acquire the stake in Away Resorts after owner Freshstream started to consider a sale.

Away Resorts, which also run parks in the Isle of Wight, north Wales, Hayling Island and Essex, was founded in 2008 by leisure entrepreneurs Carl Castledine, Neill Ryder and Greg Lashley,

The business recently expanded through the acquisition of Cornwall holiday park St Ives Bay.

Freshstream invested in Away Resorts in August 2019, acquiring a controlling majority shareholding.

The outlook for Away Resorts “continues to be strong,” with record demand set for the second half of 2021.

Chief executive Castledine said: “We’re really excited to be partnering with CVC to drive the next phase of Away Resorts’ growth.

“Their experience in helping companies scale and expand their operational and digital footprint will be invaluable as we take our growth to the next level.

“Freshstream has been the perfect partner for us over the past two years, providing capital to expand and operational and strategic advice to help us scale the business.”

CVC managing director David Wells added: “We have been hugely impressed by the success of Away Resorts’ differentiated, family-oriented holiday park proposition.

“The business is well positioned in a fragmented and growing market that benefits from strong consumer tailwinds.

“We are excited to be partnering with Carl and the Away Resorts team to support the development of the platform they have built and accelerate their ambitious expansion plans, through investing in existing parks and by significantly growing the estate over the years to come.”

Gilles Gradassi, principal at Freshstream, said: “Since founding the business in 2008, Away Resorts has developed into a highly regarded and innovative holiday operator, well positioned to capitalise on the strong momentum they have generated.”

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