LONDON-A fund backed by George Soros has bought the upmarket La Manga resort in Spain for 146 million euros ($195.6 million).

The 1,400-acre resort–a popular training ground for the England football and Davis Cup teams–had been put up for sale by the shipping group P&O in August this year for 148.9 million euros ($181.3 million). The estate comprises two hotels–including a five-star Hyatt–eight football pitches, three golf courses and a 28-court tennis centre. Robert Woods, chief executive of P&O, says: “This sale is a further significant step in our ongoing strategy of realizing value from our property portfolio and focusing on our high-growth ports business.”

The buyer, Spanish leisure and property company MedGroup, is 90% owned by private equity fund Soros Real Estate Investors. P&O chairman Lord Sterling says La Manga is “a world class resort” which will “complement MedGroup’s strategy of developing high-quality vacation properties in Spain.”

La Manga was created by American resort developer Gregory Peters 30 years ago, seeking to export something of the archetypal Florida golf course to Europe. Its now celebrated South Course got a makeover from golfing legend Arnold Palmer in the 1970s and became a championship course and home to the Spanish Open. It was bought in the early 1980s by European Ferries and became part of the P&O empire after its 1987 takeover. During the 1990s, millions of pounds was spent on development.

Despite recent troubled times in the industry, golfing assets are resurgent, according to Ben Allen at leisure property specialists Humberts. “There are a lot of lifestyle purchasers around at the moment and golfing assets with their large land portfolios are seen as a good investment giving good returns,” he says.

MedGroup is thought to have beaten off competition from other US venture capitalists, Kerzner International, private Japanese bidders and Irish investors.

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