• M&A Leisure deal flow bulletin

    March 2019 edition


M&A Leisure deal flow bulletin - March 2019 edition

15 March 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of our bulletin – the BDO M&A Leisure team's overview of the latest M&A activity in the leisure space.

To view our recent M&A Leisure sector credentials, client testimonials and team contacts download our M&A Leisure Credentials brochure. To view our complete Corporate Finance experience in the Leisure sector, explore our latest deals.


  • BDO advised HolidayTaxis Group, a UK-based aggregator of transfer and mobility solutions, on its sale to Hotelbeds, the Spain-based B2B accommodation provider backed by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Cinven.
  • BDO advised TrustedHousesitters, the world’s largest house and pet sitting platform, on its investment by Rockpool. 
  • Dnata world travel has acquired a majority stake in Bd4travel, which uses artificial intelligence to provide a personalised digital experience for customers using travel websites.
  • Elysian Capital has supported Key Capital’s management in the acquisition of Raptim Humanitarian Travel. Key Travel has acquired 100% of the shares of Raptim and the merged business will have sales approaching £350m and over 500 employees in ten countries. (source: Elysian website)
  • ECI Partners has acquired an undisclosed stake in The Travel Chapter Limited, the UK-based company engaged in providing online marketing platform for holiday lettings, from Phoenix Equity Partners for an undisclosed consideration.
  • DER Touristik Group, a Germany-based company operating as tour operator and travel agency, has acquired Journey Latin America Limited, the UK-based company operating as tour operator and travel agency, for an undisclosed consideration.
  • Verdant Leisure Limited, the UK-based owner and operator of holiday parks, and a portfolio company of Palatine Private Equity, has acquired Queensberry Bay Holiday Park & Spa, the UK-based holiday park, for an undisclosed consideration.
  • Bridge Leisure Parks Limited, a UK-based holiday park operator backed by Phoenix Equity Partners (“Phoenix”), has acquired UK-based Bowland Fell Holiday Park. The acquisition of Bowland Fell takes Bridge Leisure’s estate to nine parks as it continues to consolidate the fragmented UK holiday park market. The Milton Keynes based company has now trebled the number of parks it owns since completing a management buyout supported by Phoenix in 2015.
  • Zachary Asset Holdings Limited, the Channel Islands-based investment holding company, has acquired Canterbury Travel (London) Limited, UK-based provider of tour services to Lapland. A total of £23m (source: MergerMarket) was raised to fund the acquisition of Canterbury Travel and Stewart Travel Limited (Zachary acquired Stewart Travel Limited in September 2018). Canterbury and Stewart will be integrated under the banner of Brooklyn Travel Holdings.
  • The Netherlands-based online tour operator Sunweb Group has been acquired by the Germany and Sweden-based investment group Triton.
  • The Dutch travel website TravelBird has been acquired by UK-based Secret Escapes. The company had run into troubles and had been negotiating a takeover with Secret Escapes when that deal fell through and had to be declared bankrupt.

Restaurants and Bars

  • The Restaurant Group Plc has agreed to acquire Wagamama Limited from Duke Street LLP for £559m, which includes debt of £202m (source: MergerMarket).
  • The Coca-Cola Company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Costa Limited from Whitbread Plc. Coca-Cola will acquire the entire existing business of Costa, for a purchase price of £3.9bn (source: MergerMarket). The purchase price represents a multiple of 16.4x on Costa’s FY18 EBITDA. Coca-Cola and Whitbread Plc have also entered in to transitional services agreement for providing IT, procurement and HR services to Coca-Cola for 12-24 months.
  • Stonegate Pub Company, the UK-based company engaged in operating pubs, bars and restaurants, has acquired Bar Fever Limited, the UK-based company engaged in operating clubs, bars and restaurants, for a consideration of £25m (source: MergerMarket).
  • Private equity firm TriSpan has made its second UK investment, backing the rollout of street food star Thunderbird Fried Chicken. The investment will see Thunderbird, which currently operates out of London Union sites, launch its first bricks and mortar restaurant with a further four in the pipeline.  
  • Rockfish, a south coast seafood restaurant group, has received £1.5m minority investment (source: MCA) from Gresham House Ventures.
  • Oli Norman, the UK-based individual with interest in companies operating bars and restaurants, has acquired 50% stake in Glasgow's Great Institutions and Taverns (GGIT), the UK-based group of bars and restaurants, from Stephen White, for an undisclosed consideration. The transaction values GGIT in an excess of £15m (source: MergerMarket).
  • The Southern Co-operative Limited, the UK-based operator and franchiser of retail food stores, has acquired Cobra Coffee Limited, the UK-based chain of 17 Starbucks stores, for an undisclosed consideration.
  • Scoffs Group Limited, the UK-based company engaged in operating costa coffee outlets, has acquired Premiere Coffee Limited, the UK-based retailer of prepared foods and drinks, for an undisclosed consideration. Premiere Coffee Limited reported a turnover of £22.4m and £20.2m for the year ended 30 November 2017 and 30 November 2016 respectively.
  • Bridges Fund Management has acquired Cucina Restaurants Limited, from Stephen Quinn and Samantha Davies, for a maximum consideration of £11.6m. (source: MergerMarket). Cucina will be merged with Innovate Services to create The Impact Food Group. Both Cucina and Innovate will continue to operate independently under their existing management teams. Cucina generated sales of £16.4m in March 2018. Earlier in February 2018, Bridges Fund Management acquired an undisclosed majority stake in Innovate Services Limited for a consideration of £8.5m. (source: MergerMarket)
  • Daniel Johns Group, the property management company, has invested £10m (source: MCA) into the launch and development of Rock Spice, a high-end fusion restaurant concept.

Pubs and Brewers

  • Fuller, Smith & Turner, the UK-based brewer and pub operator, announced that it has entered into an agreement for the sale of its entire beer business to Asahi Europe, a wholly owned subsidiary of Asahi Group Holdings, the Japan-based holding company managing subsidiaries engaged in manufacturing alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, food and pharmaceutical products, for an enterprise value of GBP 250m on a debt free, cash free basis (source: MergerMarket).
  • Young & Co's Brewery Plc has acquired Redcomb Pubs Limited for a total consideration of £34m representing an EBITDA multiple of 8.5x (source: MergerMarket, Propel Hospitality).

Alternative Leisure

  • AirHop, a UK-based trampoline park operator, completed a MBO transaction backed by PE firm Rcapital.
  • LDC acquired a minority interest in Zip World, a Wales-based adventure-course and zip-wire operator. The company was set up in 2014 by Nick Moriarty and Sean Taylor. The investment values Zip World at £45m (source: MergerMarket). The company has an annual turnover in excess of £14m.
  • Cain International, the UK-based diversified real estate company investing in both debt and equity, has acquired an undisclosed majority stake in Competitive Socialising Limited, the UK-based operator of indoor golf clubs alongside bars and street food offerings, for an estimated consideration of £28m (source: MergerMarket).
  • Habit Group, a New Zealand-based health and rehabilitation services business, has received an investment from Livingbridge (completion still pending). Livingbridge's investment, via Livingbridge 6 LP fund, will be used to further grow and expand Habit Group's services, targeting further bolt-on acquisitions that will complement the latter’s business capabilities. The deal is likely worth around US$72m (source: MergerMarket).
  • Blackstone Group has acquired The National Exhibition Centre, the UK-based venue management company that operates venues for conferences, entertainment, exhibitions, live music and sports events, from LDC (Managers) Limited, for an estimated consideration of £800m (source: MergerMarket).
  • Indoor climbing business, The Climbing Hangar, secures £3m private equity backing for roll out (source: Langton Capital)
  • Everyman Cinemas has secured a new £30m (source: Propel Hospitality) banking facility to support its growth provided by Barclays Bank and Santander UK. This replaces the previous £20m facility signed by the company on 10 March 2017 with Barclays Bank. This new facility has a term of five years and supports growth opportunities for the group.
  • The All England Lawn Tennis Ground plc, has acquired Wimbledon Park Golf Club Limited for a consideration of £65m (source: MergerMarket).
  • A group of investors have acquired an undisclosed stake in Zwift, Inc, the US-based developer of online fitness entertainment gaming platform, for a consideration of US$120m (source: MergerMarket). The investors include: Causeway Media Partners, the US-based private equity firm, Novator Partners LLP, the UK-based private equity firm, Highland Capital Management Europe Limited, the UK-based investment manager, True Capital Limited, the UK-based private equity and venture capital firm.
  • A group of investors led by Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), the US-based private equity firm, has agreed to acquire an undisclosed stake in Peloton Interactive, Inc., the US-based company engaged in providing exercise bikes and offering cloud-based live streaming of fitness group classes, for a consideration of USD 550m. The group of investors include A group of investors includes: Tiger Global Management, LLC, Balyasny Asset Management, L.P, Felix Capital, Winslow Capital Management Inc, Wellington Management Company LLP, True Ventures, NBCUniversal Media, LLC,  Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, FMR LLC, Balyasny Asset Management, L.P, Felix Capital.
  • L Catterton Asia is investing in Will’s Group, one of China’s biggest private gym operators. The private equity firm is making a “significant” investment in Will’s. Financial terms were not disclosed although it has been reported previously a deal to spend about $400 million (source: Bloomberg) for a controlling stake in Will’s was put forward.
  • The Ambassador Theatre Group Limited, the UK-based theatre management company, has acquired The Ambassadors Theatre, from Mr. Stephen Waley-Cohen, the UK-based private investor, for an estimated consideration of £12m (source: MergerMarket).
  • Groupe Looping, a France-based developer, owner and operator of leisure parks, and a portfolio company of Ergon Capital Partners, a Belgium-based mid-market private equity and Bpifrance SA, a France-based venture capital and private equity firm, has acquired West Midland Safari Park, the UK-based amusement park from, SafariWorld Holdings Ltd, for an undisclosed consideration.
  • Champneys Henlow, the UK-based operator of spa resorts, has acquired Mottram Hall Limited, the UK-based owner and operator of a hotel and golf resort, from Aprirose Limited, the UK-based real estate investment company, for an undisclosed consideration.

Please contact one of the M&A Leisure team if you would like to discuss any of the topics raised in more detail.

About us

BDO Corporate Finance is a leading adviser with a focus on the leisure sector.

Our team works with a range of ambitious public, owner managed and private equity backed businesses across a wide range of leisure sub-sectors including restaurants and bars, travel and alternative leisure. Our specialists combine deep industry knowledge and technical experience to support businesses' growth journeys domestically and internationally, bringing together entrepreneurial passion and institutional rigour. 

Our team of sector specialists is integrated across accounting, audit, tax, other advisory and Corporate Finance, which means we are able to help our clients in many complementary areas throughout the transactions.

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