Guy Hands, one of Britain’s best-known financiers, plans to go for £ 600 million at Butlin’s, a network of holiday camps.

Sky News has learned that Mr Hands ’Terra Firma Capital Partners is one of the few bidders vying to buy Butlin’s at Bourne Leisure.

Terra Firma, which has been largely converted into a private investment vehicle by the Hands family, is said to have made an offer for the three resort resorts, although on Monday it was unclear how serious its interest was.

Mr Hands ’participation in the auction puts him against a quartet of private equity and real estate investors, even as the cost of living crisis threatens to affect the valuation of companies exposed to consumer spending in the UK.

Sources said Terra Firma was bidding against Queensgate, Bain Capital, Epiris and TDR Capital for Butlin’s, whose brand was created by its eponymous founder Billy Batlin in 1936.

Bourne Leisure, which also trades under the Haven and Warner Leisure Hotels brands, decided with Blackstone owner to put Butlin’s up for sale last year after concluding it didn’t fit in with the rest of the group.

According to the brand’s official history, Mr Butlin “took pity on families staying in boring guest houses with nothing to do” during a trip to Bari.

During its heyday, Butlin’s operated from nine venues across the UK, annually entertaining a million holidaymakers with lap competitions and glamorous grandma contests.

The brand has become such an ingrained part of the UK’s popular consciousness that it has inspired Hi-de-Hi !, a long-running BBC sitcom.

Image:
Butlins was founded in 1936

His fortune declined with the explosive growth of opportunities for Britons to vacation abroad, but he was reborn as the pandemic sparked a holiday boom.

Other Batlin sites today are in Minehead in Somerset and Bagnor Regis, a traditional seaside town near South Downs National Park.

Mr. Hands ’interest in buying Butlin is the result of a busy period of a deal involving the firm he founded.

The financier hatched plans to unload Annington Homes, a portfolio of housing occupied by the Department of Defense, but has been embroiled in a legal dispute with the government over its future.

Now he no longer invests from the general fund, but raises capital on each transaction to buy companies.

Last year, Mr. Hands bought Kier Living, which he renamed Tilia, and has since acquired Hopkins Homes, East England’s largest private home builder.

The guy's hands
Image:
The guy’s hands

His efforts to raise a new foreclosure fund failed as a result of the EMI defeat when he unsuccessfully tried to sue Citi, the bank that advised on the deal.

Despite his immense wealth, he told The Daily Telegraph in a recent interview that he considered happiness an elusive commodity, and said he was partly driven by the need to “be accepted”.

Rothschild, an investment bank, manages Butlin’s sales.

Terra Firma and Blackstone, controlling shareholders of Bourne Leisure, declined to comment.

https://news.sky.com/story/terra-firma-tycoon-hands-has-eye-on-163600m-butlin8217s-swoop-12619851

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