Center Parcs sold

SUFFOLK'S largest holiday park is set to get a new owner.Private equity group Blackstone is to pay £205 million to take over holiday company Center Parcs - paying shareholders 80p a share.

SUFFOLK'S largest holiday park is set to get a new owner.

Private equity group Blackstone is to pay £205 million to take over holiday company Center Parcs - paying shareholders 80p a share.

The company owns centres at Elveden in Suffolk's Breckland, Nottinghamshire, Wiltshire and Cumbria - and is planning to develop another centre in Bedfordshire.

It was originally owned by a Dutch group and then taken over by Scottish and Newcastle breweries before being floated independently.

It is the market-leader in high-value holidays, and the Elveden centre is very popular for short break holidays among families from throughout this region.

It reopened to the public three years ago after a devastating fire in 2002 destroyed the central leisure complex and damaged its swimming pool.

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That was the biggest blaze ever dealt with by firefighters from Suffolk.

Center Parcs is the latest company to be taken private by a private equity group, which will probably try to develop it before refloating it on the stock market at a later date.

A spokesman for the company said there were a number of material and financial operational constraints which made accepting the deal a prudent move.

More than 1.5 million people visit its four sites in Britain each year.

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