In brief mid-market news

Graphite Holidays has backed further expansion for holiday park operator Park Holidays UK. Park Holidays UK – formerly known as Cinque-Ports Leisure – has bought two holiday parks on the English Riviera: Landscove and Riviera Bay Holiday Parks at Berry Head, Brixham. The company’s last acquisitions were parks in Dawlish and Paignton in Devon during May 2006. Including the latest deals, the group has spent £20m on acquisitions since Graphite backed its £130m management buy-in/buyout in January 2006. Park Holidays UK is the largest holiday home and caravan park operator in the south of England, with 23 family holiday parks in Essex, Kent, East and West Sussex, Suffolk, Dorset, Hampshire and Devon. “We have had an excellent first year’s trading since Graphite backed our management buyout,” said Park Holidays UK chief executive Jeff Sills. “The purchase of the popular Landscove and Riviera Bay parks makes us the largest operator in this attractive South Devon region.” Graphite senior partner David Williams added: “We are pleased to support the plans of Park Holidays UK to grow the business both organically and by acquisition. With strong trading since we backed the business, the group has committed record levels of investment ahead of this year’s holiday season and is set for further growth.” Bank funding for the deal was led by Royal Bank of Scotland.

  • Lion Capital, a UK private equity firm, has sold luxury shoe brand Jimmy Choo in a £185m (US$364m) management buyout backed by Towerbrook Capital Partners, a New York and London-based buyout firm. Founded in 1996 by president and founder Tamara Mellon and chief executive Robert Bensoussan, Jimmy Choo has more than 60 branded stores worldwide selling its iconic shoes, as well as bags and small leather goods. Mellon and Bensoussan will continue in their respective roles and Bensoussan is expected to work with Towbrook to identify acquisitions in the luxury goods sector. In November 2004, Lion Capital acquired Phoenix Equity Partners’ stake in Jimmy Choo in a transaction valuing the company at £101m.
  • Star Capital the European private equity house has acquired two flight-training businesses from GE and SAS for more than US$210.3m. It is buying a majority stake in General Electric Commercial Aviation Training from GE’s Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS) business, in addition to the entire share capital of SAS Flight Academy from SAS AB. The transaction is expected to value the combined businesses in excess of US$275m and is expected to complete in the next few weeks. Under the terms of the agreement, GECAS will retain a significant equity stake in the combined entity of just under 20%, while also working with the merged businesses to assist in future development plans.