Amid restrictions on fitness activities and gym operations in some parts of Southeast Asia due to the coronavirus pandemic, Anytime Fitness Inc‘s business in Asia has been acquired a consortium for an undisclosed amount.
Inspire Brands Asia (IBA), the consortium led by Anytime Fitness Asia’s top sub-master franchisees, lead investor Exacta Capital Partners, and co-investor Aura Group, is betting on the expected throng of people going to the gym once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Inspire Brands Asia is the holding company of Anytime Fitness Asia, owning both its franchising and managed gym services division.
The acquisition includes the master franchisee license in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Macau, with over 350 locations and 250 gyms.
In the Philippines, for instance, the government still has not allowed gyms and other fitness centers to operate. Fitness gatherings such as Zumba sessions, yoga sessions, and the like are not allowed as well.
In the last four years, Anytime Fitness Asia’s compound annual growth rates of 49% in franchise sales and 55% in gym openings were driven by the sub-master franchisees in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore
“We are positioned strongly to take advantage of opportunities as our gyms reopen and we navigate the new normal,” said Luke Guanlao, IBA Group CEO and Anytime Fitness COO.
The acquisition is noteworthy not just in private equity but also in M&A history. According to Wong, completing the deal amidst “this black swan backdrop” involved not only an assessment of the brand and its capacity to withstand enforced gym closures, but also a long-term outlook on the industry.
“Anytime Fitness Asia is proven and capitalizes on its smaller footprint in community locations and lower entry and maintenance cost, which ensures gyms will reopen safely and grow post-COVID-19,” Wong added.