Pure Gym owners limber up for £500m sale after failed listing exercise
The UK’s biggest gym chain is to kick off a £500m auction months after market jitters forced it to abort a float, Sky News learns.
By Mark Kleinman, City Editor
Britain’s biggest fitness clubs operator is reviving plans for a £500m sale more than six months after an effort to list on the public markets was abandoned.
Sky News has learnt that CCMP Capital Advisors, which has controlled Pure Gym since 2013, is in discussions with banks about kicking off a formal review of its options within the next few months.
An outright sale of the company, which trades from more than 170 clubs, is seen as the likeliest outcome, although a source close to the situation said that another attempt to list on the stock market was "not totally out of the question".
Pure Gym aborted a plan to raise £190m from the sale of new shares last October, when it blamed post-EU referendum market jitters for its decision.
The company's relentless expansion comes after a period of turbulence in the UK gyms sector, with operators such as Fitness First being forced into financial restructurings and takeovers.
A successful sale of Pure Gym would crystallise a windfall for Sir Chris Hoy, the six-times Olympics gold medallist, who has a small shareholding in the business.
Announcing its 2016 results in March, Humphrey Cobbold, Pure Gym's chief executive, said: "Almost a million people currently enjoy our affordable and flexible offer and we've introduced a variety of different membership options to suit a wide range of personal circumstances.
"No operator in the history of the gym and fitness sector in the UK has ever achieved this scale of membership.
"For 2017, expansion remains our priority with plans for 20 to 25 openings this year in total.
"Despite our size, we retain a 'challenger brand' entrepreneurial spirit with a relentless focus on ensuring our offer appeals to 21st century consumers who want quality and value for money, the flexibility of a no contract offer and facilities they actually use."
A Pure Gym spokesman declined to comment on the impending appointment of advisers.