Deutsche Bank's private equity arm, DB Capital Partners, and its French joint bidder Pierre et Vacances are expected to enter into exclusive negotiations later today with brewer Scottish & Newcastle for the sale of its 13 Center Parc holiday villages.
The bidders are expected to pay up to £700m for the business, a discount from Center Parc's book value, which is currently at £820m.
The expected negotiations will end the months of speculation over the possible buyers since the business was put up for sale in February by S&N's adviser Morgan Stanley Dean Whitter.
The bidders had fought off an offer from CVC Capital Partners, but several weeks ago S&N entered into negotiations with London & Regional Property. However, the property group's bid now appears to have been rejected as it depended on access to cheap debt that was unavailable. The due diligence was also stalled by a fire at one of the continental Center Parc sites.
S&N has decided to shed its leisure activities and to focus on its brewing and pub retail businesses. Last month it became one of Europe’s largest brewers following its £1.7bn takeover of French brewer Kronenbourg from Danone.
DB Capital Partners were also behind Finalrealm, the investor consortium that successfully bid for United Biscuits earlier this year.