MidOcean sells Center Parcs stake for E270m

MidOcean Partners has sold its 50 per cent interest in the holiday park operator Center Parcs Europe to Pierre & Vacances, which already owned the other half of the business.

(www.PrivateEquityCentral.net) MidOcean Partners, formerly DB Capital Partners, announced it has sold its 50 per cent stake in European holiday park operator Center Parcs Europe for E270m to Pierre & Vacances, a strategic buyer which already owns the other 50 per cent stake in the company.

MidOcean, then DB Capital Partners, and Pierre & Vacances acquired Center Parcs Europe in 2001 from Scottish & Newcastle for E673m. It is MidOcean’s second largest investment in continental Europe.

MidOcean wouldn’t comment on the multiple achieved for the sale other than to say they’re were “proud of it,” a source close to the deal said. It is thought that MidOcean paid approximately E91m for its stake, with the assumption that the firm contributed 30 per cent equity for its stake in the company.

Center Parcs Europe operates 15 “holiday villages” in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The villages are essentially retreats with lodging, restaurants, activities, and typically have a covered swimming pool for year-round use. The company had revenue of E525.6m in the 2001/2002 fiscal year. MidOcean will maintain its ownership of Center Parcs UK, which operates four villages in England.

“The business had reached a level of maturity and accomplished a lot of the objectives we wanted to achieve when we bought it,” Graham Clempson, managing partner in MidOcean’s London office, said. “The timing suited us and Pierre in terms of their ambition.”

This is one of several recent MidOcean exits. In June, CSFB Private Equity announced it acquired education memorabilia company Jostens from Investcorp and MidOcean for approximately $1.2bn.

Clempson said the firm has returned about $600m to investors through exits since MidOcean was formed in February when NIB Capital led a group of investors in buying out DB Capital Partners for $1.6bn.

“We’re ahead of what we though in a time when realisations are difficult to achieve,” Clempson said.