Cove UK snaps up family portfolio of eight Scottish holiday parks.
Cove UK has established an instant foothold in the Scottish holiday parks sector after purchasing eight parks from Argyll Holidays.
The confidential deal, for an undisclosed sum, was arranged by commercial real estate firm Colliers and corporate finance adviser DSW to enable the three directors and brothers Keith, Allan and Roy Campbell to begin their retirement.
Argyll Holidays was established by their father Douglas Campbell in the 1960s and has been a family business ever since. The portfolio includes eight holiday parks with a total of around 1,800 pitches in Argyllshire, on the west coast of the country. More than 250 staff are employed by the business during peak season, which includes privately owned holiday homes as well as rental holiday accommodation, alongside food and beverage offerings.
The Argyll portfolio includes waterside, holiday villages Hunters Quay Holiday Village in Dunoon, Drimsynie Holiday Estate in Lochgoilhead, and Loch Lomond Holiday Park, set on the banks of the world-famous Loch Lomond.
Keith Campbell, director of Argyll Holidays, said: “We as a family have put heart and soul into developing our group of parks. We’ve invested in sustainability and kept quality at the heart of all our business practices resulting in multiple awards, including the ‘Scottish Family Business of the Year’, and thousands of satisfied holiday home owners and holiday guests. Whilst we have been approached over the years by different buyers, Cove was the first company that we felt understood what we stand for and could continue what we started. Cove is the ideal custodian of Argyll Holidays, sharing as we do, the same missions and values and commitment to the preservation and investment in the destinations we own.”
Cove UK is already an established holiday parks business in England with sites in Sussex (Medmerry and Seal Bay, formerly Bunn Leisure), Cornwall (Gwel an Mor) and Kings Park (Essex). It has an active acquisition programme in place, with further announcements anticipated early this year.
Mark Seaton, Cove UK Managing Director, added: “Argyll Holidays represents everything that Cove looks for: stunning properties, beautiful and unique locations, and an aspirational lifestyle offering. Simply put, they are the best at what they do. We are delighted to add Argyll to our portfolio and will continue the exceptional work that the Campbell family has started. Most importantly we will grow and develop the vision of Argyll under Cove, through sustainable business practices, a commitment to environmental conservation and investment in people and the local community.”
Richard Moss, head of UK Parks Agency at Colliers said: “It’s been great to bring together two companies who share a very similar ethos, allowing the outgoing directors to exit the business safe in the knowledge that the buyers understand and appreciate its history, the land and the customers. It’s a great credit to all involved that we have been able to conduct the deal behind closed doors to minimise business disturbance and maintain complete continuity for the customer.”
The parks sector has seen substantial activity recently with the arrival of private equity heavyweights Blackstone (acquired Bourne Leisure for circa £3billion) and CVC (acquired Away Resorts for a reported £250million before adding Aria Resorts and Coppergreen to their portfolio). In addition Sun Communities acquired Park Holidays for a reported £950m in November adding a further US presence in the market, alongside Cove who are already a well-established force following their acquisition of Bunn Leisure, one the UK’s largest holiday parks, in 2019.
Richard added: “It’s a truly fascinating market place, with private equity giants, overseas investors, family offices and expanding private family businesses all jostling for position – our role is to match the best buyer to our client’s needs, whilst not impacting the trading business.”
The vendors were advised by Miller Beckett & Jackson (Legal), DSW (Financial) and Colliers. The buyers were advised by Fried Frank and DWF (Legal) and RSM (financial).