British holiday institution Butlin’s could be taken over by the company that owns Asda. Reports say the supermarket’s parent company, TDR Capital, is in talks to buy the holiday park operator for £600m.
There are three Butlin camps still open, in Bognor Regis, Skegness and Minehead, and are owned by Bourne Leisure. But the camps are now up for sale and investment firm TDR made an offer this week, Retail Gazette reports.
Another interested bidder would be Fortress Investment Group, reports the Mirror. Billy Butlin started the company in 1936 with the aim of providing inexpensive getaways to Britons.
About one million people vacation at a Butlin’s every year to this day. At its height, the company had nine camps in the UK.
The camps are known for their famous “Redcoat” guides who help visitors enjoy their stay. Butlin’s was first created because Billy Butlin felt let down by a bleak vacation at a guest house on Barry Island.
Butlin bought land in Skegness, where he opened the first Butlin’s – and it’s still open today. Butlin’s empire has struggled with the introduction of cheap flights and Britons are increasingly vacationing abroad.
But it has bounced back, helped in part by people wanting to vacation in the UK due to the pandemic. The Asda supermarket chain is jointly owned by TDR and billionaire brothers Issa Mohsin and Zuber.
The Issas are also interested in buying the Boots pharmacy chain after other big bidders pulled out. Boots has around 2,200 stores in the UK, employing over 50,000 people.
Last month The Mirror reported that a takeover could be worth up to £10billion. Boots is owned by US-based Walgreens Boots Alliance, which unveiled a “strategic review” of the drugstore chain in January.
Asda declined to comment on the matter. Butlins, TDR and Fortress were also approached for comment.