PE firm CDIB said to explore stake sale in World Gym Taiwan

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

Asian private-equity firm CDIB Capital International is weighing a sale of its minority stake in Taiwanese gym chain World Fitness Services Ltd., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

CDIB Capital International is working with an adviser on a potential stake sale in World Gym Taiwan, as the firm is known, which could fetch about $400 million, the people said. That would give the company an enterprise value of more than $1 billion, the people said.

Other private-equity firms that own gym chains could be interested in the stake, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Sale considerations are preliminary and no final decision has been made, they said.

A representative for CDIB Capital Group, the parent company of CDIB Capital International, said the firm does not comment on any investment or transaction decisions of its portfolio companies. A representative for World Gym did not respond to requests for comment.

Founded in 2001, World Gym Taiwan is the largest fitness franchise in Taiwan, with more than 80 clubs and more than 400,000 active members, according to its website. World Gym International, the U.S. company that licenses the World Gym brand, traces its origins to a chain of gyms in California associated with the rise of bodybuilding culture in the 1970s. Regular customers included Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno.

CDIB Capital International, which manages about $1.2 billion of assets, bought a minority stake in World Gym Taiwan along with other co-investors in 2017 for an undisclosed amount. The company had intended to prepare for an initial public offering, according to a CDIB Capital International statement announcing the investment.

Private-equity firms have been snapping up gyms amid growing demand for fitness services in Asia in recent years. FountainVest Partners and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board jointly acquired Pure Group, a yoga and fitness chain favored by bankers in Hong Kong, in 2017.

A year later, L Catterton, the consumer-focused fund backed by luxury retailer LVMH, bought China fitness chain Will’s Group. Navis Capital Partners and Oaktree Capital Management own Evolution Wellness, which operates Celebrity Fitness and Fitness First health clubs in Asia.

Bloomberg

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.