Epirus acquires The Club Company and its 13 courses

Private equity firm Epiris has acquired The Club Company, a 13-course operator in the United Kingdom, and it has plans to add to this portfolio. 

With approximately 40,000 members and 600 permanent staff, The Club Company’s clubs combine a traditional golf environment with a heavy emphasis on health and fitness for families. Five clubs offer accommodations. 

“The Club Company has some of the best country clubs in the UK,” said Ian Wood, investment partner at Epiris. “Over the past 12 months we have developed a plan to build on this robust base by investing in the facilities at the existing clubs along with acquiring new sites.”

Epiris is known for its strong track record. It has helped a number of leading leisure businesses to grow over the past decade, including Parkdean Resorts, Hollywood Bowl and TGI Fridays.

“The opportunity here is exactly what we look for: a high-quality, cash-generative business with a strong management team with whom we can partner to drive operational effectiveness and investment-led growth,” said Bill Priestley, chief investment partner of Epiris.

Listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1996, The Club Company turned private in 2004 in a deal backed by Legal & General Ventures. Just two years later, it changed hands again in a deal with Irish private equity house Boundary Capital.

U.S.-based private equity firm Lone Star acquired a 95 percent stake in the company in 2014, prompting a growth phase for The Club Company. It invested significantly in its own portfolio and acquired three new sites in just 18 months. These included Wharton Park, Woodbury Park and Witney Lakes Resort. 

“I would like to thank Lone Star Funds, who have been a very supportive partner over the last four years,” said Thierry Delsol, who has been CEO of The Club Company since 2005 and will remain in the role. 

Chief financial officer Paul Stephens will also remain in his position. 

Epiris has appointed Steve Burns, chief executive of the Hollywood Bowl Group, as non-executive chairman.

Financial details were not disclosed. 

The investment comes from Epiris’ institutional private equity fund raised in 2017. Other investments from the fund include media company Time Inc.’s UK division, and Portals De La Rue, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of “substrate” for banknotes.


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