A&O advises Center Parcs on first £420m financing

Allen & Overy (A&O) has advised new client Center Parcs on a £420m financing package for its purchase of Lake District holiday village Oasis.
The firm scooped the client after advising private equity house DB Capital Partners on its £670m buyout of Center Parcs from Scottish & Newcastle at the end of last year.
A&O acquisition finance partner Jacqueline Evans advised DB Capital on that deal and so logically scooped this first deal for the company on the financing.
The package comprised a £350m senior bridge facility, a £50m subordinated bridge facility and a £20m working capital facility.
As well as financing the acquisition of the Oasis site, it also refinanced all existing debt and provided working capital for another seven years.
The bridge financing and long-term facilities were both fully arranged and underwritten by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which was advised by Clifford Chance banking and finance partner Karen Hodson.
Center Parcs is an operator of short-break holiday villages in the UK, with villages in Sherwood, Longleat and Elveden Forest. The company has another 10 outlets in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France.
The acquisition of the Oasis site was made to boost the company's portfolio.
A&O partners Alan Paul and Cindy Cook advised Center Parcs on the acquisition and Eversheds acted for Oasis.
Evans said: “We knew that this was going to happen before we did the original deal, so this has been in the ether for some time. Because we did the first half of the deal it was natural that we handled this. Because it was only acquired earlier this year it has basically been working up to doing its first acquisition.”
Key features of the deal included an innovative and flexible debt package allowing Center Parcs to finance the Oasis acquisition through debt and facilitate refinancing of existing investment. And the deal included nine years of committed financing.
Evans said: “This refinanced the debt in full, which was debt that was only put in place this year, because RBS provided such a flexible package. It also provided the finance for the Oasis acquisition as well, so from that point of view, it was a much better package.”
On the original acquisition of Center Parcs from Scottish & Newcastle last year, PricewaterhouseCoopers' law firm Landwell acted for the management on the £670m sale. Linklaters & Alliance advised Scottish & Newcastle.
Earlier this year, Evans advised Lehman Brothers on the financing of its £1.625bn acquisition of 3,000 pubs and bars from Whitbread. Debt was provided by Morgan Grenfell Private Equity. Evans also advised on the subsequent sale of 441 of those pubs and bars to Enterprise Inns.