UK hotel boss tipped to control De Vere

The boss of a leading property and hotel company was said to be favourite to win the race for control of UK leisure group De Vere. Richard Balfour-Lynn, who is the chief executive of Hotel du Vin owner Marylebone Warwick Balfour, is thought to have edged ahead of American hotels operator Starwood and the private equity house Permira according to the UK’s Press Association.

Mr Balfour-Lynn’s bid for De Vere - the operator of 19 hotels including the Belfry golf and hotel complex - is being made through his privately owned vehicle Alternative Hotels Group.

He is said to have the support of Halifax Bank of Scotland, which worked with Mr Balfour-Lynn and other investors on the £325 million takeover of Rentokil Initial’s conference venues business in November.

The Sunday Times said that Mr Balfour-Lynn was prepared to offer between 820p and 830p a share, valuing the group at almost £700 million.