Harrison Leisure UK Ltd has added the purchase of Rawcliffe Hall Country Club and Caravan Park in Lancashire to its growing family business for an undisclosed sum.
The confidential deal was arranged by commercial real estate firm Colliers who ran a competitive marketing process resulting in a substantial level of interest and numerous offers for the park and business.
The 42.7-acre park developed with 233 pitches, which has been in the same family ownership since 1993, came onto the market to allow the former partners to pursue alternative ventures and opportunities. The well-established site is developed with caravan and lodge pitches and located in a beautiful rural location around ten miles inland of the resort town of Blackpool. The sale also included six cottages, additional agricultural land and the 12th century Rawcliffe Hall, in which various leisure facilities and bars are located.
Rawcliffe becomes Harrison Leisure’s eighth holiday park in a portfolio that includes parks across the North West, Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Northumberland.
Richard Moss Head of UK Parks Agency at Colliers said: “We’re thrilled to have arranged this sale on behalf of the retiring partners. Rawcliffe Hall has built a strong reputation with its customers and the exceptional level of market popularity we experienced is largely down to the tranquil rural setting, combined with consumer demand and a scarcity of stock on the market.”
David Bagot, former owner of Rawcliffe Hall Country Club and Caravan Park, added: “As a family we are delighted to be handing over the business, which has meant so much to us, to another family who we believe have a similar ethos; it is good to know we are leaving it and the people within it in safe hands. On behalf of four generations of the Bagot family who have owned Rawcliffe Hall since 1937, I would like to thank all of the many clients who have given us their support over the years, and also the staff for their loyalty and hard work. This has been a complex transaction and we are very grateful for the support we have received from our advisors at Colliers, HD and Azets.”
Billy Harrison, Managing Director of Harrison Leisure UK said: “We are excited to take over such a well-established business and look forward to operating the park to the highest of standards for decades to come. We have some exciting plans for the property but the ethos of operating a successful family business and high levels of customer satisfaction will always remain at the core. A big thank you to Robbie Mather and Michael Walby of Burnetts Solicitors LLP for their advice and support enabling us to successfully complete on this significant transaction”
The parks sector has seen substantial activity in the last year or so, with the arrival of private equity heavyweights Blackstone (acquired Bourne Leisure for c.£3 billion) and CVC (acquired Away Resorts for a reported £250 million before adding Aria Resorts and Coppergreen to their portfolio). The arrival of Sun Communities who finalised the acquisition of Park Holidays for a reported £950 million last month has added a further US presence in the market, alongside Cove UK who added the acquisition of Argyll Holidays from Colliers earlier this year to their purchase of Bunn Leisure, one the UK’s largest holiday parks, in 2019.
Moss added: “The parks sector is an interesting marketplace currently as private equity giants, overseas investors, family offices and expanding private family businesses all jostle for position – at Colliers we’re looking to match the best buyer to our client’s needs whilst ensuring the trading business is able to continue.”
Jack Stephenson, senior associate solicitor in the corporate team at Harrison Drury, who advised the vendors, said: “We’re proud to have supported this significant transaction in the North West leisure sector, helping the long-term owners of Rawcliffe Hall Country Club and Caravan Park to realise value from a business built over many years and successfully hand the baton to the new owners.”
The vendors were also advised by Kirsty Giddins, office managing partner, of accountancy and advisory firm Azets in Bolton. Kirsty commented: “Having acted for the Rawcliffe Hall owners for many years it has been a pleasure assisting them with the sale and working alongside the professional teams at Harrison Drury and Colliers. I wish the family all the best in their retirement and future endeavours.”
The vendors were advised by Harrison Drury (legal), Azets (financial) and Colliers (agents). The purchaser were advised by Burnetts (legal).