A real estate investor behind the portfolio of five-star London hotels is one of the suitors for Butlin’s, a popular British holiday camp chain.
Sky News understands that Queensgate Investments has joined a trio of rivals in the race to buy Butlin’s from Bourne Leisure.
Queensgate is competing with Bain Capital, Epiris and TDR Capital for a group of three websites, whose brands were created by the founder of the same name, Billy Butlin, in 1936.
City sources say they expect the chain to bring in around £600m.
Queensgate is run by Jason Kow, a real estate financier, counting the hostel business Generator and a quartet of Leonardo-branded hotels among its investments.
Bourne Leisure, also doing business under the Haven and Warner Leisure Hotels, decided, along with owner Blackstone, to sell Butlin’s after concluding it was not a good fit for the rest of the group.
According to the brand’s official history, Mr Butlin “felt sorry for the families who were staying in dull guest houses with nothing much to do” during a trip to Barry Island.
During its heyday, Butlin’s operated from nine locations across the UK, entertaining a million tourists a year with its supple knee and glamorous granny contests.
The brand has become such a fixture in the British popular consciousness that it provided the inspiration for Hi-de-Hi!, the BBC sitcom.
Its fortunes waned with the explosive growth of opportunities for Britons to holiday abroad, but have enjoyed a resurgence as the pandemic has fueled an explosion of accommodation facilities.
Other sites of Butlin today are in Minehead in Somerset and Bognor Regis, a traditional seaside town near the South Downs National Park.
Through its public relations firm, Communications Group, Queensgate did not respond to multiple requests for comment.