LNK Teams with Management to Acquire Fitness Connection -- Plans to Accelerate Expansion of Health Club Chain --

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Oct. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- LNK Partners, a private equity firm focused on investing in the consumer/retail sector, announced today that it has teamed with management to acquire Fitness Connection, a low-price, high-value chain of health clubs.  The size of LNK's investment and other terms were not disclosed.

Fitness Connection is a recognized leader in the fitness industry for its strong management team and its highly attractive consumer value proposition.  Fitness Connection's strategy combines value pricing of $9.95 - $19.95 per month and no long-term contract obligation with a full range of amenities and services including personal training, kid's club, group exercise classes, and access to swimming pool, basketball, racquetball, women's only areas, cardio movie theatre, sauna, steam room, and tanning facilities.  The company currently has 28 locations in North Carolina, Texas, and Nevada, which typically range from 35,000 to 60,000 sq ft.

LNK's investment in Fitness Connection is expected to enable the company to accelerate its expansion in existing and new markets.  In addition to providing capital, three of LNK's partners will join Fitness Connection's Board of Directors and share their extensive experience building great consumer brands and businesses.  LNK's partners have operated or invested in such leading consumer companies as Staples, Quaker Oats, Pepsi, Gatorade, Life Time Fitness, Levi Strauss, PVH/Calvin Klein/Tommy Hilfiger, Campbell's, Pepperidge Farm, Godiva, and Yankee Candle.

"We are excited about our partnership with LNK for the next phase of Fitness Connection's growth, further expanding our low-price, high-value chain," Jeff Skeen, CEO of Fitness Connection said. "It is an exciting time for our team as we join up with such a successful private equity firm in retail and consumer.  Now, we are very well positioned to continue to grow our brand on a national basis."

David Landau, a partner of LNK, said:  "We back strong management teams who are building outstanding consumer and retail businesses.  Fitness Connection's management has more than 85 years of direct fitness industry experience, has been involved in the successful operation and acquisition of more than 100 health clubs, and is a recognized leader in the fitness industry."

Craig Rydin, a partner of LNK and former Chairman and CEO of Yankee Candle, said:  "Fitness Connection has a great business model with a highly attractive consumer value proposition.  We look forward to working closely with management to accelerate the company's expansion."

Kayvan Heravi, a partner of LNK, said:  "In addition to Fitness Connection's great management team and business model, the company is benefiting from consumers' increased focus on health and wellness, a long-term trend that we have been fortunate to invest in successfully many times." 

Fitness Connection was owned by WestView Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused exclusively on lower middle market companies.

Fitness Connection's investment advisor was Robert W. Baird & Co.  Additional financing for the transaction was provided by Golub Capital.  Legal advisors were Kirkland & Ellis for LNK and Latham & Watkins for the company.

About Fitness Connection   
Headquartered in McLean, VA, Fitness Connection is a recognized leader in the fitness industry for its development, acquisition, and management of health clubs.  Fitness Connection's strategy combines value pricing of $9.95 - $19.95 per month and no long-term contract obligation with a full range of amenities and services including personal training, kid's club, group exercise classes, and access to swimming pool, basketball, racquetball, women's only areas, cardio movie theatre, sauna, steam room, and tanning facilities.  The company currently has 28 locations in North Carolina, Texas, and Nevada, which typically range from 35,000 to 60,000 sq ft.  For more information, visit www.fitnessconnectionusa.com.

About LNK Partners    
LNK Partners is a private equity firm focused on backing strong management teams who are building outstanding consumer and retail businesses. LNK's current portfolio includes Au Bon Pain, Natural Food Holdings (Niman Ranch), and Beachbody.  LNK's partners have extensive experience successfully investing in or operating many leading consumer and retail businesses, including Staples, Quaker Oats, Pepsi, Gatorade, Life Time Fitness, Levi Strauss, PVH/Calvin Klein/Tommy Hilfiger, Campbell's, Pepperidge Farm, Godiva, and Yankee Candle.  LNK also is distinguished by the high degree of flexibility in the type, structure and size of its investments, and its willingness to be a minority or majority shareholder. LNK invests in a broad range of investment types, including growth capital, buyouts and recapitalizations. LNK typically invests up to $150 million per transaction.  For more information, visit www.LNKpartners.com.

Contact:

Bethany Chadwick
LNK Partners
Tel: (914) 824-5913
Email: bethany.chadwick@LNKpartners.com

 

SOURCE LNK Partners



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