BC Partners wins Fitness First auction with £835m bid

BC Partners has won the auction for Fitness First. The pan-European buy-out firm beat a number of rivals to secure the deal with a £835m bid.
Fitness First, the health club operator with 424 clubs in 15 countries and 1.1 million members, has been sold by Cinven.

‘The divestment of Fitness First has enabled Cinven to deliver very healthy returns on its original equity investment to its investors,’ the firm said in a statement. Cinven acquired Fitness First in a £404m public to private transaction in June 2003.

Stefano Quadrio Curzio, managing partner in BC Partners’ London office, said, ‘We are delighted to have completed this acquisition. With Fitness First, we have the opportunity to build on the international expansion and roll-out programme with a proven and successful business model.’

‘The fitness industry will continue to grow and we are very much looking forward to backing Fitness First and its management team in playing a significant part in the future growth of this market. The management team at Fitness First, all true entrepreneurs, give us a lot of comfort that we can develop this company into an even better business than it is today,’ he continued.

Yagnish Chotai, partner of Cinven, added, ‘Under Cinven’s ownership, a highly experienced and professional senior management team was provided with the financial resources both to optimise the performance of the club portfolio as it stood in 2003 and to focus on additional but selective international expansion into the attractive Asian and Australian markets. The initiatives undertaken by Cinven and the management team have created the truly global market leader that has generated strong profits growth and significant returns for Cinven’s investors.’

Various private equity firms reportedly took part in the auction, including CVC, Blackstone and Macquarie.

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