Property investor Queensgate sizes up £600m stay with Butlin’s | Business News


A property investor behind a portfolio of five-star London hotels is among the suitors for Butlin’s, the well-known chain of British holiday camps.

Sky News understands that Queensgate Investments has joined a trio of rivals in the race to buy Butlin’s from Bourne Leisure.

Queensgate is vying with Bain Capital, Epiris and TDR Capital for the group of three sites, whose brand was created by its eponymous founder, Billy Butlin, in 1936.

City sources say they expect the chain to fetch roughly £600m.

Queensgate is run by Jason Kow, a real estate financier, and counts the hostels business Generator and a quartet of Leonardo-branded hotels among its investments.

Bourne Leisure, which also trades under the Haven and Warner Leisure Hotels brands, decided along with owner Blackstone to put Butlin’s up for sale after concluding that it did not fit with the rest of the group.

According to the brand’s official history, Mr Butlin “felt sorry for families staying in drab guest-houses with nothing much to do” during a trip to Barry Island.

In its heyday, Butlin’s operated from nine sites across the UK, entertaining one million holidaymakers each year with knobbly knees competitions and glamorous granny contests.

The brand became such an entrenched part of Britain’s popular consciousness that it provided the inspiration for Hi-de-Hi!, the long-running BBC sitcom.

Its fortunes waned with the explosive growth of opportunities for Britons to holiday abroad, but has enjoyed a resurgence as the pandemic has fuelled a boom in staycations.

Butlin’s other sites today are at Minehead in Somerset and Bognor Regis, the traditional seaside town close to the South Downs National Park.

Through its public relations firm The Communications Group, Queensgate did not respond to multiple requests for comment.


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