Gym group weighs up IPO

X The Business Desk

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Pure Gym, the UK’s largest gym group which is backed by US private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, is considering an IPO as it looks to press into the American market.

Plans for the IPO by the Leeds-based firm were originally disclosed in a bondholder update over summer, when a spokeswoman noted the group was “in the early stages of considering options for potentially raising equity, including potentially in the public markets”.

It now appears that the flotation which is expected to value the business at up to £1.5bn could come this year as it looks to open a dozen more gyms in the UK in 2021, three “trial sites” in the USA by early 2022 and grow its franchise partnerships in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia.

A spokeswoman for Pure Gym group, confirmed the plans stating the business was “exploring our options” but added “it’s too early to say if this is what we’ll do”.

The group which is responsible for 506 gyms across the UK, Denmark, Switzerland and Poland is said to believe it is well positioned to take advantage of post-pandemic recovery and the increased interest in health and wellbeing which the last 12 months has brought.

It is also reported that the firm believes there are opportunities presented by its competitors being weakened by the environment of the last 18 months.

The group which was founded in 2009 was acquired by Leonard Green in November 2017 from New York PE firm CCMP Capital Advisors who had acquired the business in 2013 for an undisclosed figure and oversaw its expansion by purchasing rival gym chain LA Fitness.

In its latest reports the group saw membership figures returning to pre-Covid levels having reached 94% of the December 2019 figure of 1.7m members.