French Firm Homair Eyes Raid On UK's Eurocamp
A leading French provider of mobile holiday homes is preparing a bid to take over Eurocamp, one of the stalwarts of Britain's camping sector.
Sky News understands that Homair Vacances is in detailed talks about acquiring Eurocamp, which is owned by the Indian-listed company Cox & King's.
The discussions have been taking place for some time, although Homair is still thought to face competition from rival bidders in the battle to win control of Eurocamp.
The British company, whose popularity soared during the 1980s, is currently part of the Holidaybreak group acquired by Cox & King's, which stakes a claim to being the oldest tour operator in the world.
Holidaybreak was bought in July 2011 by its Indian suitor for £312m, expanding its portfolio of brands in an industry in which the internet has become an increasingly-important distribution channel.
"The sale of Eurocamp is a signal of an end of an era," Noel Josephides, chairman of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), said last year when the business was put up for sale.
"There is now an enormous supply of accommodation in hotels across Europe, much of it very cheap. Campsites, like hotels, know they no longer need to work with operators like Eurocamp when they can get so much business direct from websites."
Lincoln International, an advisory firm, is handling the sale of Eurocamp, which operates more than 200 parks across Europe, with a total of 7,300 mobile homes and 1,500 tents.
It would provide a good fit for Homair Vacances, which owns roughly 8,500 mobile homes spread across 143 campsites in France and other European markets.
Cox & Kings is likely to retain other Holidaybreak businesses, including PGL educational holidays.
None of the parties involved in the talks could be reached for comment.