HgCapital puts Hoseasons on market for £50m

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The Independent Online

Hoseasons, the self-catering UK holiday specialist, has been put up for sale by private-equity owner HgCapital.

Close Bothers Corporate Finance has been hired to run the sale of the business, which HgCapital hopes will fetch up to £50m.

Rival buyout houses Bowmark Capital, LGV Capital and Phoenix Equity Partners are all expected to be invited to bid due to their experience of running UK-based travel companies. A potential trade bidder is Wyndham Worldwide, the New York-listed travel giant.

Hoseasons has been trading strongly during the downturn as families shun expensive foreign holidays for domestic breaks.

In its last available results, the year to 31 October 2008, sales were £15.6m, up from £13.7m in the previous 12 months. Pre-tax profit rose by nearly 50 per cent to £3.13m.

A travel-industry source warned that the sale might fail to attract much interest as HgCapital would want a good price for the business, given its performance. Private-equity bidders might struggle to make a strong return on a future sale should overseas holidays regain their appeal.

HgCapital bought Hoseasons for £40m in 2003, though half of this was in the form of assuming the company's debt.

A spokesman for HgCapital declined to comment this weekend.