The owner of Center Parcs is gearing up for a £2.5bn sale or stockmarket flotation of the British holiday resorts group.
Blackstone, the private equity giant, has drafted in Rothschild, the investment bank, to undertake a review of strategic options for the company, which it has owned since 2006.
The move, first reported by Sky News, comes just weeks after Center Parcs reported huge demand at its newest site in Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire, which opened in July.
The fifth village the company has set up in the UK, it was virtually full during the three months after launching, recording a 99pc occupancy rate, cementing Center Parcs’ reputation as one of the most popular holiday operators in the UK.
Last weekend, The Telegraph reported that the company, run by Martin Dalby since 2000, had kicked off discussions with tourism authorities in Ireland about constructing a resort there, its first outside the UK.
Profits at Center Parcs jumped by 10pc to £20.6m in the year to April, and sales rose 4pc to £314.6m.
Blackstone is expected to consider a range of options including a refinancing that would enable it to take out a sizeable dividend ahead of a sale or float. However, it is unlikely anything will happen before next year, a source close to the situation said.
A Blackstone spokesman declined to comment.