Brookfield Said in Talks to Buy Blackstone’s Center Parcs

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Brookfield Asset Management Inc., Canada’s largest alternative asset manager, is in talks to acquire holiday-resort operator Center Parcs U.K. Group from Blackstone Group LP, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Brookfield’s offer of about 2.4 billion pounds ($3.7 billion) topped bids from others, including groups led by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and CVC Capital Partners, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. Blackstone could reach an agreement to sell the business as soon as next week.

The acquisition would be made through Brookfield’s publicly traded subsidiary, Brookfield Property Partners LP, and funds managed by the parent, one of the people said. Should the talks fail, Blackstone may proceed with an initial public offering of Center Parcs instead, the people said.

Andrew Willis, a Brookfield spokesman, declined to comment as did Andrew Dowler, a spokesman for Blackstone, Mei Mavin, a CPPIB spokeswoman, and Carsten Huwendiek, a CVC spokesman.

Center Parcs runs five resorts in the U.K. that include hotels and countryside activities from sailing to swimming. The company reported revenue of 314.6 million pounds in the year to April 2014, according to its annual review.

Reports of takeover bids for Center Parcs have circulated since last year and Blackstone rejected an offer from BC Partners in December, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The resort company in March said it was considering “strategic and financing options which may include private or public equity or debt capital markets.”

Other reported bidders for the company, in partnership with CPPIB or CVC, were GIC Pte., Starwood Capital Group, and KSL Capital.

Brookfield, which oversees $207 billion in assets, already has similar resort properties in its portfolio including the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

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