Today’s big deal
DW Sports, the UK-based fitness group headed by JJB Sports founder Dave Whelan, has entered exclusive negotiations to acquire Fitness First’s UK operations for £70m (US$ 93m. The exclusivity period lasts for one month and DW Sports has a number of weeks in which to conclude a deal.
DW Sports hopes to buy Fitness First’s operations in London and the South East of England as they will complement the locations of the fitness clubs it currently owns. It is understood that DW Sports is keen to retain some 50 of Fitness First’s total 70 UK locations, which he intends to merge with DW’s existing 70 health clubs prior to a possible IPO from 2018. The other Fitness First UK sites have buyers lined up from the fitness and health sector.
The Fitness First businesses outside the UK are expected to be divested after the completion of the British sale.
DW Sports’s bid has beaten offers from the turnaround firm OpCapita and the private equity firm Advent international.
The Fitness First group, which operates more than 370 health clubs across the world, is owned by the private equity house Oaktree Capital Management.
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