David Lloyd sheds two Virgin Active clubs to get acquisition in shape to avoid in-depth CMA investigation

Rebecca Smith
David Lloyd intended to buy 16 Virgin Active Gyms but two will go back to Virgin Active
David Lloyd intended to buy 16 Virgin Active Gyms but two will go back to Virgin Active (Source: Getty)

David Lloyd will leave behind two of the 16 Virgin Active gyms it intended to acquire after concerns were flagged by the competition watchdog.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said last week that health and fitness club David Lloyd must “resolve concerns” at the Brighton and Brentwood gyms in question by Friday 26 May, in order to avoid an in-depth phase two investigation.

Read more: Virgin Active flogs 16 clubs to David Lloyd Leisure

An initial probe by the CMA found the two Virgin Active gyms competed closely with the nearby David Lloyd gyms and would face limited competition from other operators after the proposed merger.

The watchdog said it was concerned that “this loss of competition could result in higher prices or worse deals being offered to gym users in these areas”.

Now, Virgin Active has announced the two clubs will stay under its ownership.

In a statement, the firm said:

We are delighted to confirm that our clubs in Brighton and Clearview in Essex are to remain under our ownership following a review of their proposed sale to another gym chain.

We are pleased they will be remaining part of the family and look forward to continuing to provide members at both clubs with the great fitness and wellbeing experiences they’ve come to expect from us.

We invest in our people and across our entire club portfolio to ensure our members want to spend time in our gyms, even after the sweating stops.

In the other areas affected, the CMA found no competition concerns from the merger.

Virgin Active had intended to offload the clubs as part of its move to focus on its metropolitan and commuter hubs.

The health club chain will continue to operate another 45 clubs in the UK too, 33 of which are in London.

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