Drayton Manor theme park has today announced that it has been sold, as part of a pre-pack administration, to Looping Group – a European company operating 15 leisure parks across the UK, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Portugal.
The group will retain Drayton Manor Park’s 599 employees as part of the buy-out under the same terms and conditions, and says it has very ambitious development plans to ensure the park’s long-term sustainability and make it into an even more attractive leisure destination for families.
All bookings with the park and hotel will remain in place.
The acquisition of the park, with more than 100 rides and attractions, Europe’s only Thomas Land, a 15-acre conservation zoo and four-star hotel, will make it the largest and one of the flagships in the Looping Group’s portfolio, which also includes West Midlands Safari Park and Pleasurewood Hills in the UK.
The theme park and zoo, which attracts more than one million visitors each year, has confirmed it will operate under the company name of Drayton Manor Resort Ltd.
The Bryan family, who have owned and run Drayton Manor Park since it first opened to the public in 1950, will remain a key part of the management structure under the new ownership, with William Bryan retaining his role as managing director.
William Bryan, managing director at Drayton Manor Park, said: “Like many businesses, we have faced challenges over recent months, but the sale to the Looping Group is an exciting and positive new chapter for Drayton Manor Park. For us, finding a buyer who would protect jobs was key, as was finding one who would continue to operate and develop the Drayton Manor Park our guests know and love.
“Looping Group’s commitment towards a very ambitious investment plan and its pledge to reinvest profits primarily back into the park, made it a natural and very appealing fit for us.
“The Bryan family was always committed to making the park one of the UK’s leading attractions and, under the Looping Group, we look forward to developing the family-friendly offering for many years to come.”
Laurent Bruloy, CEO of the Looping Group, said: “We are thrilled and proud to welcome Drayton Manor Park and its talented team to our group. I would like to commend the Bryan family who has, over three generations, been developing the park and made it one of the most beautiful references of our industry in the UK. We are deeply respectful about all that has been achieved by the teams.
“We aim to continue the story and support Drayton Manor’s development with the same entrepreneurial DNA and values that we share whilst keeping the strong local anchorage of the resort.
“Our aim is to provide visitors with an unforgettable, fun and entertaining family day out. The park’s offering is the perfect fit with us, with its extensive range of award-winning rides and attractions including Europe’s first and only Thomas Land.”
Mike Denny, joint administrator and PwC director, said: “The Group had been facing exceptionally challenging trading conditions. In February, Storm Dennis forced the Park to close unexpectedly, whilst its planned reopening in March was delayed due to Covid-19. These factors combined exacerbated cash flow pressures on the Group.
“We are delighted to have helped secure a sale which preserves 599 jobs and ensures the survival of a much loved leisure attraction that is steeped in history and heritage. The purchasers will be working with the existing management team to continue to grow and develop the business, we wish them every future success.”