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Blackstone Said to Mull Center Parcs Dividend Pre Possible IPO

Blackstone Group LP has asked banks to pitch refinancing proposals for Center Parcs UK Ltd., ahead of an expected initial public offering of the holiday-parks operator, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

The private-equity firm is looking at a number of options for Center Parcs, which could include using new borrowings to pay itself a dividend of about 300 million pounds ($506 million) ahead of a possible IPO in London next year, two people said, asking not to be named because the details aren’t public. No final decision has been made and advisers have not been appointed, the people said.

Center Parcs, which Blackstone acquired in 2006, joins a growing number of companies in the U.K. that are seeking to borrow this year as a strengthening economy increases their risk appetite. Virgin Group Ltd., controlled by billionaire Richard Branson, asked banks to pitch to offer about 300 million pounds in financing, Bloomberg News reported last week.

Spokesmen for Blackstone and the company declined to comment.

Center Parcs, which runs holiday villages that offer activities from swimming to rock-climbing, reported revenue of 303.5 million pounds in the year to April 25 2013, according to its annual review. Its profit before tax and exceptional items was 18.6 million pounds for the same period. The group’s borrowings as of that date were about 1 billion pounds of secured financing.

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