Places For People Acquires DC Leisure

Leading operator of local authority leisure centres purchased by sustainable community developers

Property management and development group Places for People has acquired DC Leisure, a leading leisure management contractor that manages 100 community leisure facilities on behalf of 28 local authorities across the UK. Livingstone Partners’ Business Services sector team advised DCL’s shareholders on the sale.

The deal will see both companies grow their leisure and facilities management services, alongside other social and private sector housing and development activity in communities across the UK. As part of the acquisition DCL will keep its existing identity, board, and governance structures, but operate as a subsidiary of PfP.

PfP is one of the UK’s largest property groups and works in 230 local authorities, owning or managing 82,000 properties. PfP’s ownership and resources will enable DCL to pursue the increasing number of outsourced leisure management contracts coming to the market and utilise its experience in driving leisure, sports and fitness participation, building state-of-the-art new leisure centres and improving existing, and creating new, places for local communities.

David Cowans, Group Chief Executive of PfP commented: “The mutual commitment of Places for People and DC Leisure to improving places and communities was the driver for the acquisition. Our focus is on making places work. Whether we are involved in the creation of a new community or regeneration of an existing neighbourhood we have a long-term interest in adding value to places and providing people with facilities such as new schools, shops, leisure, and job opportunities which add value to a place.

“The roots of both companies are in working in partnership with local authorities and communities to create successful places and we are excited and looking forward to an exciting future.”

Steve Philpott, Chief Executive of DCL added: “This will be a pioneering partnership – the first time a housing provider has joined forces with a leisure provider. It’s going to be an exciting and unique adventure for us all which will create many new opportunities to improve the communities we serve.

“We are proud of our partnerships with local authorities and believe by being a part of Places for People we can bring even more added value to these partnerships. We attract 25 million visits each year, have built 10 new leisure centres over the last six years and most importantly we are improving the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve by getting them physically active.

“Livingstone made the effort to really understand our business and took a very measured and thoughtful approach to exploring the sale with a small number of qualified strategic acquirers. They led the negotiations on behalf of the shareholders with authority and confidence and we are delighted with the sale to PfP.”

Livingstone advised DCL and its private equity investor Sovereign Capital on positioning the company for sale and overseeing the discussions with PfP.

Jeremy Furniss, Partner at Livingstone concluded: “DCL is a unique business, combining an ever broadening community service mandate with best-in-class private sector outsourcing practices to deliver an affordable but high quality experience to local communities and value for money for local authorities. With its social housing roots, PfP offers an ideal cultural home for DCL to flourish.”


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