Drayton Manor sold to Looping Group

Shockwave, Drayton Manor

Drayton Manor has been sold to Pleasurewood Hills operators Looping Group, it has been announced.

It emerged over the weekend that the Staffordshire theme park had filed notice of its intent to appoint administrators.

The takeover deal includes a ‘pre-pack’ form of administration, which will see the park’s 599 staff retained on the same terms and conditions.

The pre-pack administration procedure is a form of insolvency where a business arranges a deal to sell its assets to a buyer prior to appointing administrators to finalise the purchase.

A press release by Drayton Manor on Monday said the French-based Looping Group had “very ambitious” development plans to ensure the park’s “long-term sustainability”.

The group also owns the West Midlands Safari Park in the UK, as well as a number of other mid-sized attractions around Europe.

The Mellors Group, which took over Fantasy Island in 2016, were preparing to takeover Drayton Manor in July, but no deal was finalised.

Bryans remain at the helm

The Bryan family, who founded the park in 1950, will remain a “key part” of the management structure, the press release said. It added that William Bryan will remain as managing director.

Bryan said: “Like many businesses, we have faced challenges over recent months, but the sale to Looping group is an exciting and positive new chapter for Drayton Manor Park.”

Looping Group has a number of attractions across Europe

Laurent Bruloy, CEO of the Looping Group said his company was “deeply respectful about all that has been achieved by the teams”.

He said: “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 in our industry in the UK.”

Joint administrator Mike Denny said that Drayton Manor had been facing “exceptionally challenging trading conditions”, referencing Storm Dennis and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The factors combined exacerbated cash flow pressure on the group,” Denny added.

“We are delighted to have helped secure a sale which preserves 599 jobs and ensures the survival of a much-loved leisure attraction.”

The park’s operations have not been affected by the administration or the takeover, with all bookings and annual passes remaining valid.