Britain’s biggest gym chain has changed hands following a £600 million swoop by the joint owner of Sir Philip Green’s Topshop.
US private equity fund Leonard Green & Partners has snapped up a controlling stake in Pure Gym from CCMP Capital Advisors. Pure Gym had been preparing for a stock market flotation in London, before calling time on the move late last year as it grappled with choppy market conditions following the Brexit vote.
Humphrey Cobbold, chief executive of Pure Gym, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be entering into a new partnership with Leonard Green & Partners, whose investment confirms the growth potential of our business.
“They have some big brands in their portfolio and an excellent track record of investing in the leisure and fitness industry.
“CCMP have been an incredibly supportive partner and played a vital role in Pure Gym’s development.”
Pure Gym, which launched in 2008 and has 950,000 members across 189 sites, had been hoping to raise £190 million from its initial public offering (IPO) to underpin an expansion drive across the UK.
However, in October 2016, it scrapped plans for stock market flotation, citing “market volatility”. At the time, Mr Cobbold said the board had decided not to proceed with a listing due to the “challenging” conditions, despite the strong interest shown by potential investors.
The move from Leonard Green & Partners adds the Leeds-based firm to its bumper portfolio of health and fitness businesses including PDC Brands and SoulCycle.
LGP partner Kris Galashan said: “Over the years we have made numerous investments in the gym and fitness arena and we are very excited to be extending our involvement in the industry through this investment in Pure Gym.
“We have been incredibly impressed by the business that Humphrey and the team at Pure Gym have built over the last few years and believe that the business has tremendous potential for the future.”
Tom Walker, the managing director of CCMP (UK), said: “CCMP’s partnership with Pure Gym has taken it from a company in its infancy to the UK’s leading and largest gym group. It’s been a pleasure to work with Humphrey and his team and we wish them great success under the new partnership with LGP.”
Pure Gym was advised jointly by investment banks Jefferies International Limited and Harris Williams & Co and received legal advice from Ropes & Gray.
Leonard Green & Partners is a private equity investment firm founded in 1989 and based in Los Angeles.
The firm has invested in more than 80 companies in the form of traditional buyouts, going-private transactions, recapitalisations, growth equity and public equity and debt positions.
LGP said that it joins forces with experienced management teams to invest in market-leading companies.
LGP primarily focuses on companies providing services, including consumer, business and healthcare services, as well as retail.
The most recent fund, Green Equity Investors VII, closed in 2016 with $9.6 billion of committed capital.