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Forest Holidays

Forest Holidays

April 2022
UK & Ireland, £100m - £500m

Liberty advises the management team of Forest Holidays on its acquisition by Sykes Holiday Cottages

Sykes Holiday Cottages, an independent holiday cottage rental agency, is acquiring a controlling stake in Forest Holidays, the UK’s leading owner and operator of environmentally sensitive cabins, in order to accelerate its ambition to become a leading UK-focused holiday group with a diverse range of unique rental accommodation.

Sykes shares Forest Holidays’ approach to sustainable tourism which strives to have a positive impact on the planet and local communities whilst providing memorable shared experiences for its customers. The combined business will be united by a common purpose to bring further benefits to nature, people and local communities.

Forest Holidays is the owner and operator of environmentally sensitive cabins set across Britain’s forests. Since the mid-1970s, the Company has sensitively created cabins under the guiding principles of sustainable woodland use and the preservation of the countryside and biodiversity. To date, Forest Holidays has invested over £100 million into Britain’s forests, increasing recreational use, improving facilities, and creating and maintaining trails. Forest Holidays has 12 forest locations with many in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park in Scotland and opening later this year in the stunning Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales.

As part of the combination, Forest Holidays’ existing institutional investor group, which is led by Phoenix Equity Partners and includes LDC, will realise their successful investment. Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland and Natural Resources Wales will divest their legacy minority stake. They will still be a responsible and supportive landlord to Forest Holidays as they are to hundreds of other partners who create experiences for the public to enjoy in forests across England, Scotland and Wales.

Sykes, whose platform provides access to over 22,500 holiday homes, is the UK’s fastest-growing holiday cottage rental agency. The business is backed by Vitruvian Partners.

The two businesses will be run independently by their existing leadership teams under a newly formed parent company.

The combined group will employ more than 1,700 people and is estimated to take over 2.65 million customers on holiday in 2022.

The Liberty team provided excellent support to us throughout the process. The clarity of their analysis allowed us to compare the very different structures offered to us and focus on the key commercial issues. They then helped us to negotiate and agree terms in a constructive and collaborative way.

Bruce McKendrick
CEO of Forest Holidays

Mick McDonagh
Having worked with Bruce and his team when Phoenix Equity Partners invested in Forest Holidays, it is great to see the growth they have delivered over the past four years. We are delighted to have advised them again on an incentive plan which aligns interests across the wider Sykes business to provide a platform for continued growth across the new group.

Michael McDonagh
+44 (0) 7715 705 000