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Whittlebury Park and Whittlebury Hall united with £20m acquisition

13 December 2016 by
Whittlebury Park and Whittlebury Hall united with £20m acquisition

The owners of Whittlebury Park golf resort, near Towcester, Northamptonshire, have acquired neighbouring four-AA-star, 213-bedroom Whittlebury Hall hotel, conference centre and spa out of administration for £20m.

Jeff and Carol Sargeant, who bought Whittlebury Park, set within a 300-acre site, in 1984, already owed the freehold of Whittlebury Hall. The two properties are located adjacent to the Formula One race circuit at Silverstone.

The operating company of Whittlebury Hall collapsed into administration in September 2011, with secured debts of £44.6m owing to Aviva (£31.9m) and HSBC (£12.7m), and further unsecured debts of £3.8m. Aviva sold its debt to private equity company Lone Star in October 2015.

Whittlebury Hall has continued to successfully operate over the past five years by the administrators AlixPartners through Whittlebury Hall & Spa, a company that was incorporated in November 2011.

In the company's most recent accounts for the year to 31 December 2015, lodged at Companies House, the hotel achieved a 8.5% increase in revenue to £16.6m, with pre-tax profit up 11.8% to £1.9m.

The acquisition of Whittlebury Hall has been funded by a £20m loan from OakNorth Bank and is the largest loan to date for the bank, which began trading in 2015.

The combination of Whittlebury Park and Whittlebury Hall now encompasses 254 bedrooms, four restaurants, extensive conference and banqueting facilities for over 3,000 delegates, a leisure club and one of the UK's largest spas with 27 treatment rooms and a 19m swimming pool.

Jeff Sargeant, executive chairman of Whittlebury Park, said: "Uniting Whittlebury Hall with Whittlebury Park will bring the entire estate into family control, and provides us with the opportunity to increase our corporate proposition and host more guests during peak times such as the Grand Prix."

Ben Barbanel, head of debt finance at OakNorth, said that as a smaller bank, it has benefited since Brexit and the slow-down in large lenders willing to support expanding businesses.

Hotel Cateys 2015: Conference and Banqueting Team of the Year >>

Whittlebury Hall & Spa to be sold for around £30m >>

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