A Surprising Acquirer?

As experts in finding strategic acquirers for unique businesses, we were pleased to see The Guardian newspaper comment on one of our recent deals – Places for People’s acquisition of leading leisure management contractor DC Leisure.

While PfPs rationale for this acquisition may not have been immediately obvious, we always take a very open-minded approach when considering potential acquirers and frequently surprise our clients by bringing credible, left-field purchasers to the table.

Why DCL?

PfPs is a property management, development and regeneration group, which owns or manages over 81,000 homes – mostly affordable – across the UK. So why would it acquire DCL, a business that manages around 100 local leisure centres on behalf of 28 local authorities?

Social housing organisations which have grown beyond their core property management businesses have historically tended to expand in to providing additional housing or community services, for example acquiring specialist property maintenance businesses or building community centres to provide a focus for local activity. The move in to leisure centres is an extension of this.

Leisure centres sit right at the heart of local communities, providing a place for families, sports clubs, charities, special interest groups and others to meet and interact. This acquisition is absolutely in line with PfPs focus on “making places work” and adding value to the communities where it operates.

Although PfPs acquisition of DCL seems superficially to move PfP beyond its core activities, therefore, The Guardian ultimately concurred with our strategic insight that it “appears to be just the most recent example of the increasing diversification of the affordable housing sector.”

So what next?

From our discussions with other social housing organisations, we know that there is significant interest in finding additional revenue streams that can support and complement their objectives of providing affordable housing and improving the quality of life of their tenants. We definitely see this deal as a sign of things to come.

Read the full Guardian article online here.


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