Celebrity Fitness & Fitness First Asia merge

23 February 2017

CELEBRITY FITNESS AND FITNESS FIRST ASIA MERGE TO CREATE ONE OF THE LARGEST FITNESS CLUB NETWORKS IN ASIA

 

  • Evolution Wellness Holdings Pte. Ltd. (“Evolution Wellness”) will have increased scale and reach, with an unrivalled network of 152 wholly-owned fitness clubs across Asia and revenues c. US$295 million
  • Brings together two of the most experienced management teams in the Asian health and fitness industry, with a combined staff strength of 7,000 and serving 400,000 members
  • Complementary service offerings, geographical footprint and business models position Evolution Wellness for success, as well as operational and cost optimisation post-integration
  • Backed by strong financial sponsors, Navis Capital Partners (“Navis”) and funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”), to capture growth potential and further advance ambitions in the fast-growing Asian health and fitness industry


SINGAPORE, 23 FEBRUARY 2017 –
Celebrity Fitness and Fitness First Asia today announced a merger that will create one of the largest fitness club networks in Asia. The combined entity, Evolution Wellness Holdings Pte. Ltd. (“Evolution Wellness”) will comprise 152 wholly-owned fitness clubs across Asia. Evolution Wellness brings together two of the most experienced management teams in the Asian health and fitness industry, serving circa 400,000 members with a combined staff strength of approaching 7,000. Celebrity Fitness and Fitness First Asia recorded revenues of US$76 million and US$219 million respectively for the 2016 financial year.

Simon Flint, CEO, Evolution Wellness
, commented: “We’re turning the page and beginning an exciting new chapter for Celebrity Fitness and Fitness First. Over the years, both brands have established themselves as pioneering and trusted names in the health and fitness sector, leading in their markets and delivering excellence and innovation for their members. Joining forces will allow us to operate with increased scale, reach, and efficiency, to enhance our members’ experience through the continued expansion of our club networks, faster innovation and product evolution, as well as improved service standards. I am honoured and proud to be leading this team; this merger creates a unique opportunity to build on the success of both brands, and I am confident we will further energise the Asia fitness market with the collective expertise and experience we now have as one unified team.”

COMPLEMENTARY BUSINESS MODELS ALLOW FOR OPERATIONAL SCALE AND POSITIONS EVOLUTION WELLNESS TO CAPTURE FURTHER OPPORTUNITIES IN ASIA

Evolution Wellness will have a significant presence in the region post-merger, with operational scale in four key countries – Indonesia with 46 clubs; Malaysia with 35 clubs; Thailand with 28 clubs; and Singapore with 21 clubs. The increased scale of operations will better allow Evolution Wellness to capture opportunities in Asia, supported by strong macro and social trends including population growth, increasing urbanisation, growing GDP per capita, rising health awareness, higher health-related expenditure, and low gym membership penetration(1).

Evolution Wellness’s plans include enhancing member access privileges across the combined network, and building on the current network of 152 clubs throughout Asia with more new locations. Both brands will continue to innovate and develop proprietary group fitness programmes, including the introduction of pay-as-you-go group fitness packages, as well as leveraging technology for an enhanced member experience and convenience.

Moreover, both Celebrity Fitness and Fitness First employees can look forward to expanded career progression paths, enhanced talent mobility opportunities, and access to broader learning and development programmes and proprietary fitness expertise. Evolution Wellness will look to foster and promote the exchange of knowledge and learning across both brands to further build market-leading expertise.

Martin Darby, CEO, Celebrity Fitness, said: "Celebrity Fitness and Fitness First complement each other in their distinctive brand identities and market positioning. This merger will enable both brands to expand faster and move into new Asian countries. I look forward to assisting Evolution Wellness with this strategic expansion."

STRONG FINANCIAL SUPPORT HIGHLIGHTS CONFIDENCE IN THE MERGER AND BRANDS
Oaktree and Navis will own an equal share in Evolution Wellness, highlighting their support and confidence in the combined entity and growth prospects for the Asian health and fitness sector.

Nicholas Bloy, Managing Partner, Navis, remarked: "Celebrity Fitness has been a great success story since our acquisition in 2007 of the brand created by John Franklin. At the same time we have watched with admiration, the growth and success of Fitness First in the region. We’re excited to be taking the lead role in this new entity and will bring our sector knowledge and years of regional expertise to help Evolution Wellness develop and grow in new and dynamic ways to reach its fullest potential. We see tremendous opportunity in the health and fitness market in Asia, and with this merger, we have established a strong platform on which to build our ambition and enhance our market leadership position."

Justin Bickle, Managing Director, Oaktree, and Fitness First Board member, remarked: "We’ve invested heavily into the Fitness First business, especially here in Asia, and have been delighted with the market response to our investments in club design and innovation. We’re looking forward to this next chapter of growth for Fitness First in Asia alongside that of Celebrity Fitness; we’re excited to partner with Navis to create a leading Asian fitness offering for the benefit of our combined customers."

Flint concluded, "Although we are now one of the largest fitness club networks in Asia, our priority remains to be true partners to our members in their fitness journey, and keep them coming back for more. We’ve worked hard over the last fifteen years to build a reputation based on trust, and we remain committed to bringing health and wellness to thousands more people across the region."

-Ends-

For more information and Frequently Asked Questions, please visit our Merger Announcement page HERE.

Notes:

1. Source: International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) 

  • Gym membership penetration rates in Southeast Asia: (4.2%); Singapore (4.1%); Philippines (2.3%); Malaysia (0.8%); Thailand (0.5%); Indonesia (0.1%)
  • Gym membership penetration rates in Western countries: Australia (14.8%); UK (12.4%); New Zealand (11.4%)

 

 For further information or interview requests, please contact:

Angela Campbell-Noë / Jean Zhuang

Tulchan Communications

fitnessfirst@tulchangroup.com

+65 6222 6715

 

Jillyn Tan (Jill)

Head of Communications, Fitness First Asia

Jill.Tan@fitnessfirst.com.my

+603 6200 0801 (Ext 831)

 

About Evolution Wellness Holdings Pte. Ltd.
Evolution Wellness Holdings Pte. Ltd. brings together two leading fitness brands – Celebrity Fitness and Fitness First – under one roof to create one of the largest fitness club networks in Asia. It combines the expertise of one of the most established brands, Fitness First, with one of the fastest-growing brands in the health and fitness industry, Celebrity Fitness. The combined entity will wholly-own, manage, and operate all 152 fitness clubs across Asia.

About Fitness First Asia
Fitness First is one of the largest fitness brands in the world and the largest in Southeast Asia. In Asia alone, there are 90 Fitness First clubs across Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. With over 222,000 members generating close to 15 million visits per year, Fitness First carries unparalleled brand equity across the region. With an unrivalled club network in the region, a unique range of proprietary group fitness classes / experiences, class-leading fitness app CustomFit, and a reputation for great customer service, Fitness First is well placed to build on its leadership position in the fast-growing Asian fitness market.

About Celebrity Fitness
Celebrity Fitness is the leading fitness club operator in Indonesia and Malaysia, with a presence in Singapore. It’s a widely recognised and respected lifestyle brand, offering members a unique and fun fitness experience. With over 178,000 members, Celebrity Fitness operates 62 clubs in the mid-premium segment in suburban and lifestyle malls. The philosophy is simple: every member – whom we affectionately refer to as our Celebrators – deserves to be treated like a celebrity, and we make fitness stars of our Celebrators by ensuring that everything from clubs service to our exclusive fitness programs are personalised, exciting, cutting-edge and fresh.

About Navis Capital Partners
Navis Capital Partners was founded in 1998 to make private equity investments in buyouts, recapitalisations and financial restructurings in Asia, with preference for investments in enterprises with a strong or developing presence in Southeast Asia, Australia and Hong Kong. Over the years, it has made over 70 controlling investments most of which have been completed with little reliance on acquisition finance.
Navis Capital Partners contributes both capital and management expertise to its portfolio companies with the objective of directing strategic, operational and financial improvements. To date, it has one of the largest private equity professional teams in Asia, comprising over 60 individuals in 8 offices across the region, and manages several private and public equity funds totalling US$5 billion.

About Oaktree
Oaktree is a leader among global investment managers specializing in alternative investments, with $101 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2016. The firm emphasizes an opportunistic, value-oriented and risk-controlled approach to investments in distressed debt, corporate debt (including high yield debt and senior loans), control investing, convertible securities, real estate and listed equities. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the firm has over 900 employees and offices in 18 cities worldwide. For additional information, please visit Oaktree’s website at http://www.oaktreecapital.com/.