Irwin Mitchell Advises On Successful Sale To International Buyer During Lockdown
The restructuring and insolvency, corporate and real estate teams at Irwin Mitchell provided legal advice to PWC on the sale of Drayton Manor Park to the Looping Group, securing almost 600 UK jobs.
Drayton Manor Park trading was significantly impacted as a result of Storm Denis in February 2020, which was compounded by enforced closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
When sale via a pre-pack out of administration became necessary, Stephen George, Amy Keogh and Sally Essex in the Irwin Mitchell restructuring and insolvency team advised administrators PWC on the Staffordshire based family attraction being secured by the Looping Group.
A European company operating 15 leisure parks across the UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands, the Looping Group will retain the park’s 599 employees under the same terms and conditions and has ambitious plans to ensure the park’s long-term sustainability.
Drayton Manor attracts over one million visitors each year, with over 100 rides and attractions. Coupled with Thomas Land, a 15 acre conservation zoo and a four-star hotel, the park is set to be one of the flagships leisure destinations in the Looping Group portfolio, which includes West Midlands Safari Park and Pleasurewood Hills in the UK.
The Bryan family, who have owned and run Drayton Manor Park since it opened in 1950, remain part of the management under the new ownership with William Bryan still managing director.
Mike Denny, joint administrator and PwC director, said: “The group had been facing exceptionally challenging trading conditions. In February, Storm Dennis forced the Park to close unexpectedly, whilst its planned reopening in March was delayed due to Covid-19. These factors combined exacerbated cash flow pressures on the group.
“We are delighted to have helped secure a sale which preserves 599 jobs and ensures the survival of a much loved leisure attraction that is steeped in history and heritage. The purchasers will be working with the existing management team to continue to grow and develop the business; we wish them every future success.”
Expert Opinion“When it became clear that challenging trading conditions would make it necessary to sell the business, Nick Dawson in our corporate team and Gurpreet Hayer in real estate assisted the Drayton Manor directors.
“My colleagues Amy Keogh and Sally Essex, together with Elaine Huttley from our employment team got involved when the pre-pack solution became necessary.
“This was an important deal to be involved in locally in terms of securing both the jobs and the business and a great example of the value of our internal cross team working, when supporting the business and the administrators PWC.
“The lockdown has seen many good businesses suffer, so it is a pleasure to have assisted in securing the future of one of Britain’s best-loved attractions and ensuring the park will continue to operate for many years to come.” Stephen George - Partner