Owners of Holidaycottages.co.uk sell half the business in multi-million-pound deal.

The founders of Bideford-based Holidaycottages.co.uk have sold half of their £30million holiday cottage rental empire to a private equity firm.

The deal with Phoenix Equity Partners is thought to have netted the owners of the family-owned business up to £15m.

Holidaycottages.co.uk, based on Bideford Quay, was founded by Peter Morris and his wife Sandra in 1989.

Their son James took over as managing director in the mid-2000s and the firm currently manages more than 2,200 high quality self-catering holiday properties throughout the UK.

Registered under the company name Travel Chapter, the business expects to deliver more than 55,000 bookings this year.

James Morris said: "In recent years we have built our family-owned business into one of the UK's leading holiday lettings companies.

"We have a strong team in place and a range of exciting growth opportunities. We are pleased to be partnering with Phoenix, who share our ambition for growth and will support us to deliver our plan."

David Burns, managing partner at Phoenix, said: "We believe that Travel Chapter is an exciting first investment for our 2016 Fund.

"Travel Chapter is a fast-growing, innovative business operating in an attractive market.

"We are delighted to be partnering with James and his team and we look forward to working with them to accelerate the growth of the business."