Ares provides unitranche for Phoenix acquisition

Partnering with RBS, the lenders have provided debt financing for PE buyout of Bridge Leisure.

Mid-market lender Ares has provided debt financing alongside Royal Bank of Scotland to UK private equity firm Phoenix Equity Partners in its acquisition of a UK holiday park operator, Bridge Leisure, according to a statement.

The alternative lender provided a unitranche loan while RBS provided a revolving credit facility, someone close to the transaction said.

Ares, RBS and Phoenix Equity Partners declined to comment beyond the statement.

As part of the transaction Bridge Leisure also acquired Silver Sands Holiday Park, located near Lossiemouth in Scotland.

Headquartered in Milton Keynes, Bridge Leisure was founded in 2008 as a holiday park consultancy and management business initially focused on operating leisure parks for third parties.

In 2010, the Bridge Leisure team expanded into the operation of owned parks acquiring Trevella and Sand Le Mere, with the backing of Kings Park Capital. In 2012, it acquired Turnberry and Silver Sands is its fourth park.

Phoenix will support the growth of Bridge Leisure by developing the parks and providing capital for new acquisitions.

David Burns, managing partner at Phoenix, said: “We are delighted to be investing in Bridge Leisure. It is a well-run business with a strong management team, in what is an attractive and highly fragmented sector. We are confident that we will work well together with Andrew and his team to grow the business. The Silver Sands acquisition is a first step towards meeting that objective.”

Phoenix’s investment focus is on mid-market UK private businesses valued at up to £200 million (€261.2 million; $302.5 million).