Gym group David Lloyd is for sale

Imran Khan
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David Lloyd has purchased 16 Virgin Active gyms (Source: Getty)

David Lloyd owners are preparing to sell the gym chain for £1.3bn, according to The Telegraph.

A sale of the gym group, which runs 83 clubs in the UK and 12 in the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain, is expected to draw considerable interest from private equity investors.

However, the sale cannot proceed until a prior deal by David Lloyd is approved.

Last month Virgin Active said it offloaded 16 clubs in the UK to David Lloyd for an undisclosed sum. Virgin Active highlighted at the time that the sale would allow it to focus on its metropolitan and commuter hub operations in its key markets.

David Lloyd’s takeover of rival gym chain Virgin Active is likely to be the subject of scrutiny from the CMA. Ahead of any David Lloyd auction, the CMA would need to give the company a green light on the Virgin Active deal.

Private Equity investor, TDR Capital bought David Lloyd for £750m in 2013.

The CMA investigation could a thorn in the side for David Lloyd. When rival gym chains, Pure Gym and The Gym Group, attempted a merger, a CMA probe led to the breakdown of the proposals, following a lengthy examination into the case.

If David Lloyd is successful in persuading the CMA that British gym goers have nothing to fear from the deal, then a mooted summer auction may be on the cards.

South African investment company, Brait, bought Virgin Active last year for £1.3bn but recently sold over a third of its clubs to Nuffield Health for £80m.

The David Lloyd group was founded in 1980 by Lloyd, who is a former Davis Cup tennis player David Lloyd. David Lloyd has also been passed around the city a few times itself. In 1995, Whitbread purchased the company only to sell it on to the property business owned by Livingstone brothers, London & Regional, in 2007.