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Center Parcs owner puts holiday chain up for sale 'for billions'

Center Parcs UK and Ireland has been put up for sale for a reported £4bn to £5bn, nearly double what it was first bought for just eight years ago.

It follows a story reported by Sky News last year that Barclays had been appointed to advise on the future of the upmarket holiday villages.

The chain of six Center Parcs locations in the UK and Ireland is owned by Canadian private equity group Brookfield Property Partners. It was bought for £2.4bn in 2015.

If a sale goes through, it would be one of the biggest property deals of the year.

Center Parcs is one of the most famous British leisure brands, attracting millions of visitors annually to its five UK sites and one Irish location in Longford.

At the end of last year, Center Parcs reported occupancy rates of 97.3%, in line with pre-COVID levels.

The company booked revenue of £426.6m between April and December 2022, up 20% on 2021, and an 18% increase the 2019 pre-pandemic year.

The sites offer a mix of adventure and leisure activities for families, such as watersports and horse riding, as well as spa packages.

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The first site was opened in the UK in 1987 at Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire.

Other UK locations are Elveden Forest in Suffolk; Longleat Forest in Wiltshire; Whinfell Forest in Cumbria; and Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire.

Earlier this year Center Parcs announced it was pulling out of plans to develop a new holiday village in Crawley, West Sussex, following "rigorous environmental and ecological site surveys".

The UK and Ireland operations are separately owned by Center Parcs in Europe which also trades under the brand.

Center Parcs and Brookfield declined to comment.