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5 September, 2021 - 21:35 By Tony Quested

Mills & Reeve fine tunes Aria acquisition and backs French group deal

Law firm Mills & Reeve is working alongside Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to advise CVC Capital Partners VIII – managed by CVC Capital Partners – on the acquisition of Aria Resorts by leading British holiday park operator Away Resorts. 

The deal creates one of the UK’s largest holiday resort brands.

It follows CVC Capital Partners VIII reaching an agreement to acquire Away from Freshstream in June 2021. Mills & Reeve and Freshfields are also advising CVC, one of the world’s leading private equity and investment advisory firms, on this acquisition.

Away currently operates nine parks in prime UK holiday destinations, including Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire and Sandy Balls in the New Forest. With Aria, the newly formed group will operate 20 high quality holiday park resorts and an award-winning luxury boutique hotel across attractive coastal and country locations in the UK.

Both operators have experienced unprecedented demand in 2021. Away has seen bookings increase by 41 per cent year-on-year with holiday home sales up 32 per cent. The combined group has plans to continue to develop the existing estate and grow its footprint to enhance its market-leading position.

The team at Mills & Reeve, led by Joanna Davies, Joanna Jowitt and Vincenzo Maggio carried out due diligence for both deals.

Mills & Reeve has also supported an $11 million investment raising for fast-growth French tech company to support its growth in the rapidly expanding API management market.

Mills & Reeve acted for Lille-headquartered Gravitee during two rounds of successful investment with AlbionVC and Oxx.

Gravitee entered the API management scene in 2014 as an alternative to other more complex platforms available in the market. It offers an enterprise-grade, all-in-one, open source solution that enables organisations to have full control over their API ecosystems, and to oversee both API management and identity management within the same platform.

The injection of  funds will allow Gravitee to continue expanding its development, sales, and marketing teams to achieve Gravitee’s vision of a market-leading, democratised API management tool. 

This scaling-up effort positions the company well in anticipation of an API management market predicted to be worth $22 billion by 2028.

Zickie Lim, partner at Mills & Reeve and head of the funds, venture capital and investments team said of the deal: “This is the first VC investment in Gravitee’s seven-year history and we’re thrilled to support their journey of fast-growth as APIs become ever more critical to business success.”

As well as running both investments and working with Gravitee’s French counsel, Mills & Reeve’s work ensured a successful internal restructure of the French-focused company in order to tap into the expanding VC market in the UK. 

Zickie Lim added: “Not only is the UK a great place to raise investment anyway, but there is a lot of opportunity currently in the UK investment market and Gravitee were able to restructure their group in order to access this.”

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