Luxury Lake District cottage firm plans expansion after buyout

Luxury Lake District cottage firm plans expansion after buyout

Lake District luxury holiday cottages provider Lakelovers plans expansion in the growing staycation sector following a private equity led management buyout.

Mid-market private equity investor LDC has backed the buyout led by chief executive Paul Liddell for an undisclosed sum.

The property management and lettings agency was founded in 1977 and provides a service that includes marketing, maintenance and bookings support, alongside bespoke legal, financial and regulatory advice, through a network of high street branches.

Liddell acquired the Windermere-based business in 2000 and it now manages more than 500 holiday properties across the Lake District.

LDC’s investment will help to drive the business forward, providing the capital to launch an acquisition trail that will drive scale across the Lakelovers portfolio and help the business capitalise on the growing trend for domestic breaks.

Gary Fletcher, former CEO of Forest Holidays, is joining the company as a non-executive director alongside LDC investment director Simon Braham and senior director Ged Gould.

Fletcher has more than 20 years’ experience supporting the growth of UK-focused travel businesses and is also non-executive chairman of LDC-backed holiday park operator Away Resorts and non-executive director of Forest Holidays.

The deal marks the fifth investment for LDC’s team in the north-west of England this year, with more than £75 million of equity invested.

Liddell said: “Our business is founded on trust and a genuine understanding of the region’s tourism sector and it is the strength of our relationships with homeowners, combined with a focus on quality and service that has underpinned our growth journey to date.

“Whilst these factors remain at the heart of our strategy, the new partnership with LDC will provide the financial firepower and strategic support needed to further scale the business.

“With strong credentials in the UK travel sector and a track record for partnering with management teams to drive growth, LDC is the ideal partner to help us to unlock the potential of our business and kick-start the next phase of our growth strategy in earnest.”

Gould added: “With a focused proposition, a commitment to quality and service and a CEO that has more than 30 years’ experience in the local property market, Lakelovers has established itself as the pre-eminent provider of premium holiday cottages in the Lake District.

“Under Paul’s leadership, the business has developed a scalable business model that not only enables property owners to realise the full potential of their holiday home, but firmly lays foundations for future growth.

“More than 18 million people visit the Lake District every year and this is only set to increase since the region was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July.

“We’re looking forward to working with Paul to help capitalise on the growth opportunity both organically and through acquisitions, in what is a highly competitive market.”

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