Harris family buys back Butlin's

21 September 2022 by
Harris family buys back Butlin's

Blackstone and Bourne Leisure have agreed to sell Butlin's to a newly formed company backed by previous owner the Harris family.

Bourne Leisure, which operates the Haven and Warner Leisure brands, along with US private equity firm Blackstone acquired Butlin's from the founding Harris, Cook and Allen families last year.

As part of the transaction, the families co-invested alongside Blackstone and continued to hold a minority stake in the business. The Harris family is understood to still have a stake in Bourne Leisure.

Despite having sold Butlin's for a reported £3b originally, reports suggest Butlin's has been sold back for an estimated £300m as the freehold of the three Butlin's sites was sold to UK pensions scheme the Universities Superannuation Fund earlier this year.

Paul Harris, on behalf of the Harris Family Trusts, said: "We are delighted to reaffirm our love for Butlin's and once again be the new owners of this great brand. We look forward to working alongside the Butlin's leadership team as they strive to deliver their strategic plan for the business and help them accelerate their investment plans to give our Butlin's guests an even better holiday experience."

Lionel Assant, European head of private equity at Blackstone, said: "Staying true to our high-conviction investment approach, we believe we are well-positioned to drive the continued success of both the Haven and Warner businesses. Proceeds from the Butlin's sale will enable us to continue delivering our ambitious investment programmes across both brands, supporting upgrades to the existing estates and adding new sites to the portfolio, to the benefit of millions of customers.

"Butlin's is in a strong position to take advantage of the continued growth in the staycation market, and I have no doubt it will continue to flourish. We wish everyone there every success for the future."

Butlin's was founded in 1936 by Billy Butlin, who opened the first site in Skegness with the aim of revolutionising British seaside holidays. Today, it operates three resorts, in Minehead, Bognor Regis and the original site in Skegness, which together attract more than 1.5 million guests every year.

Paul Flaum, group chief executive of Bourne Leisure, added: "I am immensely proud of what Butlin's has achieved over the past few years, continuing to deliver Billy Butlin's vision of family fun. It has been a privilege to work with the Butlin's management team and I would like to thank both the Bourne and Butlin's teams for their commitment and contribution to this great British institution over so many years. We wish the whole Butlin's team the very best of luck."

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