Iconic brand De Vere to sell off all its premier golf clubs
De Vere has put all the golfing resorts it owns in the UK up for sale, according to newspaper reports.
The six golf clubs affected are all premier venues: Cameron House in Loch Lomond, Mottram Hall in Cheshire, Slaley Hall in Northumberland, Dunston Hall near Ipswich, Belton Woods in Lincolnshire and Oulton Hall near Leeds.
Cameron House alone is expected to sell for about £65 million according to Herald Scotland – nearly double the amount the Turnberry golf resort, also in Scotland, sold for just last month, in what was then one of the biggest transactions in British golfing history.
The six clubs together are expected to fetch about £160 million.
The Belfry, which is managed by De Vere and in 2005 was sold by it for £186 million, is not up for sale as it is now owned by US private equity firm KSL Capital Partners, which, according to the Sunday Times, will, along with a ‘clutch of private equity firms’, bid for the six clubs.
De Vere, which went into the hands of Lloyds Banking Group during the financial crisis in a £1.7 billion debt-for-equity deal of which Lloyds has written off £650 million, sold its conference division in March for £231 million and has been selling off its non-golf hotels for several months. It sold the Grand in Brighton for £50 million earlier this month for instance.
Lloyds brought in Andrew Coppel, the former Queens Moat Houses chief executive, as De Vere’s CEO, and he said last year: “It was agreed with Lloyds in December 2011, soon after I joined De Vere, that we would work toward crystallising the value of the business over a three to four-year period.”
During the financial crisis the group set up the highly successful reciprocal and flexible membership De Vere Club, which allows golfers to play at various courses managed by the group. Earlier this year it announced it had set up a new reciprocal scheme, ‘The Country Club’, in which golfers could effectively join all six De Vere golf clubs for just £1,250. The group has also invested heavily in its golf clubs over the last couple of years. A spokesman said De Vere had no comment to make following the newspaper revelations. However, he added that De Vere is marking the success of Colin Montgomerie, a ‘golf ambassador’ for the company who won the Senior PGA Championship recently, by offering anyone who joins either The Country Club or De Vere Club before June 12 the chance to win signed merchandise and a lesson from Montgomerie.