Blackstone eyes Center Parcs listing

The US firm is reportedly considering a public listed entity for its Center Parcs assets in the UK to help smooth a potential majority sale to M&G Investments, the fund management group owned by British insurer Prudential

The Blackstone Group is reportedly considering the establishment of a listed vehicle for the UK assets of its Center Parcs portfolio.

The US private equity firm has been in talks to sell a majority stake in its Center Parcs business for a number of months, and the establishment of a public investment vehicle could aide the process, according to UK trade magazine, Estates Gazette.

M&G Investments, the fund management group owned by British insurer Prudential, is named as the investor in talks to buy the majority stake. In an earlier report it was stated the vehicle would own £1.4 billion ($1.46 billion; €1.7 billion) of assets, in which Blackstone would retain a 25 percent interest.

But according to the latest report, Blackstone is now considering the potential to float the properties as a Channel Islands-listed real estate investment trust to make the process more tax efficient and liquid for third party investors to participate.

The investment vehicle would own leisure parks Whinfell Forest, Cumbria; Elveden Forest, Suffolk; Longleat, Somerset; and Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. The deal with M&G excludes European parks in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany.

Blackstone acquired the operating and property businesses of Center Parcs in consecutive deals in 2006 for a total of £1.1bn.