Chinese billionaires in takeover battle for Center Parcs
Chinese billionares, Wanda Propert's Wang Jianli and Fosun's Guo Guangchang weighing possible offers for UK holiday resort- Center Parcs.
Two of China’s most prominent billionaires could gatecrash a looming global takeover battle for Center Parcs, the holiday resorts operator.
Wang Jianli and Guo Guangchang are understood to be in the early stages of weighing possible offers for the company, which has been put up for sale by its owners.
Wang is China’s biggest property mogul, overseeing the Dalian Wanda shopping mall, entertainment and retail empire, which is one of the world’s largest property developers. He owns the AMC cinema chain in America, British yachtmaker Sunseeker and the Han Show Theatre in Wuhan, China (above). The 60-year-old is China’s second-richest man behind Alibaba boss Jack Ma, with a $13.2bn fortune, says Forbes magazine.
Guo is the boss of Fosun, a sprawling conglomerate, which has amassed a vast overseas empire of leisure and travel assets, including the Club Med holiday parks. In China, his business acumen has earnt the tycoon the nickname “the Warren Buffet of the East”.
Center Parcs runs five holiday villages in the UK, where holidaymakers can take part in activities from swimming to rock-climbing, and stay in luxury treehouses. Its most recent resort was opened last summer in Woburn Forest, on the Duke of Bedford’s estate, at a cost of £250m.
It is understood that Blackstone, the American private equity firm that owns Center Parcs, is trying to tempt both Dalian Wanda and Fosun into lodging bids for the company.
Blackstone is considering either selling Center Parcs, which it has owned since 2006, to new backers or floating it on the London stock exchange. The owners are understood to have placed a price tag of around £2.5bn on the business, which notched up pre-tax earnings of £147m last year.
Last month, Blackstone picked four investment banks: Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Morgan Stanley; Barclays and Deutsche Bank to begin preparations for a listing.
Separately, Rothschild was appointed to gauge appetite among suitors and has already received firm interest from at least three parties.
It is understood preliminary bids have been lodged by private equity firms CVC and BC Partners. The former is understood to be working with GIC, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, while the latter has joined forces with KSL.
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