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Virgin Active Acquires 13 Health Clubs from Esporta

One man's trash is another man's treasure. Seeking to exit the continent, Esporta sells off some clubs to Virgin Active who is looking to expand there.

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London, England--

Health club operator Esporta last month sold 13 non-core clubs to Virgin Active as part of its ongoing strategy to focus on the premium sector in the UK.

The deal – for an undisclosed sum – includes the 6 Esporta clubs in Spain and marks the company’s exit from the Spanish market. The Spanish clubs had previously been earmarked for sale in 2004 when Esporta announced plans to dispose of its loss-making sites in Continental Europe.

The package also included the sale of seven clubs in the UK: in Rugby, Chelmsford, Bolton, Crawley, Birmingham, Gloucester and Medway.
The move is part of Esporta’s drive to become the leading operator of premium health and fitness clubs in the UK, said its chief executive, Neil Gillis.

“We now have the funding and management focus to expand our UK racquets business and we are looking hard at a number of opportunities to achieve this.” He also said Esporta's long-term goal is to completely exit continental Europa and to sell its remaining clubs in Germany and Sweden.

Back in January 2005 Virgin Active secured 3 previous Esporta clubs. The clubs were located in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Milton Keynes and formed a part of Virgin Active’s expansion plans throughout the UK. The addition of those 3 new clubs and the opening of an additional Merton Abbey club brought Virgin Active to a total of 100 clubs worldwide and a membership base of over 540,000.

In January, Sir Richard Branson commented at the time, “I am delighted with the new acquisition. This is a great fit for Virgin and Virgin Active and expanding into Scotland is incredibly exciting for the whole team. Virgin Active’s head office is located in Milton Keynes so it’s great to have a club on the doorstep!

Posting date: 08/08/2005

Source: Esporta

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