Partial exit beckons for Blackstone’s Center Parcs

The US firm is reportedly in talks to sell a majority stake in the assets of leisure chain Center Parcs to the investment management arm of UK insurer Prudential

The Blackstone Group is reportedly creating a fund that will allow it to sell down a majority stake of the UK assets in its UK Center Parcs leisure portfolio.

M&G Investments, the fund management group owned by British insurer Prudential, is named as the investor, in a report by The Financial Times.

The vehicle would own £1.4 billion ($1.46 billion; €1.7 billion) of assets, in which Blackstone would retain a 25 percent interest.

The assets to be inserted into the vehicle are in Whinfell Forest, Cumbria; Elveden Forest, Suffolk; Longleat, Somerset; and Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. It does not include the 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.

The Financial Times also said Blackstone had recently been granted an extension to the debt that backed the portfolio acquisition until 2013, although it is likely the group will seek to pay down the bonds after the sale.