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Portuguese market leader Fitness Hut sold to Viva Gym

We’re very excited about the opportunity for low-cost fitness in Iberia and we look forward to working with our new partners to become the undisputed market leader in Spain and Portugal
– Nick Coutts, CEO, Fitness Hut

Spanish firm Viva Gym has announced the acquisition of Portuguese brand Fitness Hut, creating the largest low-cost fitness group in the Iberian Peninsula.

The sale of Fitness Hut means Viva Gym will grow to almost 200,000 members, with the groups’ combined revenues totalling more than €50m ($60.18m, £44.49m).

The combined group – which will be led by Viva Gym CEO Juan del Río Nieto, and will continue to operate under two separate brands – will initially have 48 sites.

Fitness Hut has 31 clubs, providing gym facilities and nutritional services to 110,000 members, and running 3,300 fitness classes a week.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity for low-cost fitness in Iberia and we look forward to working with our new partners to become the undisputed market leader in Spain and Portugal,” said Nick Coutts, CEO and co-founder of Fitness Hut.

Coutts, who first revealed plans to enter the fast-growing Spanish market in an interview with Health Club Management in September, said the deal represents “the next stage of growth” for his business.

In the interview, Coutts said: “We've had discussions about going to Spain, so that's quite likely. I’m realistic – there’s going to be continued consolidation over the next couple of years, and I imagine we’ll be part of that.

“But even if we’re acquired, it would be great if Fitness Hut brand could live on and be grown rather than be rebranded.”

The groups both launched in 2011, with Viva Gym founded by private equity firm Magenta Partners.

In 2015, Bridges acquired a majority stake in Viva Gym. The firm, which was responsible for launching the Gym Group, has also recently invested in Impact Fitness.

The sale of Fitness Hut was advised by Clearwater International and was made possible by an investment by Bridges, plus a co-investment from Magenta Partners, Hermes GPE and two other, unnamed, businesses.

Fitness Hut’s founding investor Edge Capital and subsequent investor Oxy Capital will exit as part of the deal.

Gareth Iley, partner and head of consumer at Clearwater International, said: “This cross-border transaction brings together two strong companies with exceptional management teams, to form an unrivalled Iberian market leader.

“With the increasing consumer demand for convenient, low-cost gyms that still maintain high quality, the growth potential is vast and we look forward to seeing this partnership thrive.”

Bridges investment director James Hurrell added: “There’s a clear opportunity for the two brands to improve their offering by sharing knowledge and best practice, and committed funding is in place to deliver an accelerated growth plan.”

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