David Lloyd sold to private equity fund

Michael Bow
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HEALTH and fitness club David Lloyd Leisure (DLL) yesterday outlined an ambitious £50m expansion plan after being sold to UK private equity firm TDR Capital for just under £750m.

The business, founded by former tennis ace David Lloyd over 30 years ago, said it has over 20 new centres in the pipeline across the country and was exploring merger and acquisition opportunities both here and elsewhere in Europe.

TDR Capital, which has previously invested in such ventures as PizzaExpress and Center Parcs, beat off stiff competition from a number of other private equity groups to land the group.

The sale was handled by UBS. DLL chief executive Simon Lloyd, founder David’s son, said: “The team at TDR have an enviable track record of investing in highly successful businesses, particularly in the leisure sector and DLL and its members will see immense benefit from their experience and expertise.”

The deal brings to a close the six year investment by DLL’s former owner Caird Capital, one of private equity’s most active retail investors.
Caird, formerly part of the Bank of Scotland, bought the group on the cusp of the financial crisis for £925m alongside London & Regional.

TDR Capital was formed by former Deutsche Bank Capital Partners Europe bosses Manjit Dale and Stephen Robertson in 2002.

This is the first investment from its third fund TDR Capital III, which is still raising money.



UBS advised David Lloyd on the deal. The team was led by European head of EMEA retail Nick Bishop and European M&A managing director Simon Lyons.

Bishop worked with David Lloyd before on its original sale by Whitbread. Most recently he worked on the merger of Elixia and SATS in June to create Scandinavia’s biggest fitness chain. He also advised on the sale of Center Parcs to Blackstone and the merger that created Thomas Cook.

Simon Lyons is a seasoned adviser to state owned bank RBS and worked on the £2bn sale of payment processing company Worldpay to Advent International and Bain Capital. He also had a hand in the $1.5bn float of UK insurer Direct Line.

TDR Capital was advised on the deal by Linklaters, led by partner David Holdsworth and managing associate Will Aitken-Davies.