Planet Fitness will acquire its largest franchisee, Sunshine Fitness, in a $ 800 million deal that will strengthen the company’s presence in the Southeast.
The Hampton, NH-based company said the acquisition comes on the heels of strong growth in 2021, adding 1.7 million new customers to a total of 15.2 million members.
Gyms were initially hit hard by the pandemic in 2020, when about 9,100 gyms – or a quarter of the industry – closed forever. But many were also able to pivot by offering online classes and fitness classes.
Last year, fitness centers began to recover, though it remains to be seen how the Omicron COVID-19 variant will affect the high membership season at the beginning of the year, when people make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight.
“There’s a huge long-term untapped opportunity for our brand to get people off the couch,” Chris Rondeau, CEO of Planet Fitness, said in a statement, “which is why we, as a leader in the fitness industry, are making this strategic investment. for the future.”
Sunshine Fitness opened its first location in Altamonte Springs, Fla in 2003 and today has 114 locations in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
The acquisition will be funded with a combination of cash and shares and is expected to add to Planet Fitness’ earnings, the company said.
Planet Fitness will own 10 percent or 200 of its 2,254 stores throughout the company once the transaction is completed.
Shane McGuiness, co-founder and CEO of Sunshine Fitness, which has been the owner and operator of the Planet Fitness system for nearly 20 years, will oversee the operation of the combined corporate store portfolio.
The San Francisco-based private equity firm, TSG Consumer Partners, acquired a majority stake in Sunshine Fitness in 2017 after previously supporting Planet Fitness. It began leaving Planet Fitness in 2015 when it became a publicly owned company, but will become a shareholder again with the Sunshine Fitness acquisition, the companies said.
Shares of Planet Fitness rose nearly 2 percent to $ 91 on Tuesday.
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