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Whitchurch hotel to be sold off

By James Pugh | Whitchurch | Business | Published:

A hotel in Shropshire is one of 27 being sold by Scottish group Macdonald Hotels.

Hill Valley Hotel in Whitchurch

The group is to sell the properties – including the Macdonald Hill Valley Hotel, Golf & Spa in Whitchurch – by the end of August, for an undisclosed sum.

The company has signed heads of terms and is in talks with a private equity and real estate investor.

The portfolio being sold includes some of the country's most iconic hotels, such as The Rusacks Hotel, overlooking the 18th green of the Old Course at St Andrews; the five-star Randolph Hotel in Oxford; the five-star Bath Spa; and The Compleat Angler, located on the banks of the River Thames in Marlow.

The value of the deal and the buyer have not yet been disclosed, but the sale is reportedly expected to clear the hotel group’s bank debt of nearly £190 million.

After the deal completes, Macdonald will have 11 hotel properties in the UK and Spain.

The group, run by founder and 72-year-old industry veteran Donald Macdonald and his family, had total debts in excess of £700 million more than 10 years ago. Macdonald recently posted pre-tax losses of £1.1 million.

Talented

Mr Macdonald said: "It's been 30 years since I started the business along with my fellow board members Gerry Smith and Gordon Fraser, and it's been a privilege to have shared such an incredible journey with both of them and with so many other fantastic colleagues.

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"I am extremely grateful to have led a team of talented and hardworking people who have built such a significant business, but it's now the right time to move onto the next stage of the journey."

Gordon Fraser, deputy chairman and group managing director, added: "Over the past three decades we've received numerous offers for the business and their frequency has increased considerably over the past year, with a steady stream of serious approaches from the Far East, US and UK, including from UK blue-chip pension funds, which reflects the long-term strength of the business.

"We therefore appointed Cahal Dowds of Deloitte who successfully led the sale of 24 of our hotels in 2007. Cahal helped us weigh up a reassuringly high number of serious offers of both refinancing and acquisition.

"We are very pleased to have entered a ten-week exclusivity period with a major, heavyweight investor to allow final due diligence and legal work to be completed with the transaction to conclude by the end of August."

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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