Harris Williams & Co. Ltd Advises Fitness First UK on its Sale to Dave Whelan Sports Limited

October 13, 2016

Harris Williams & Co. Ltd, a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide, announces the sale of the UK operations of Fitness First Group (Fitness First UK) to Dave Whelan Sports Limited (DW Sports). Fitness First UK is a leading full-service operator of fitness clubs focused on London and the South East UK. Harris Williams & Co. served as the exclusive financial advisor to Fitness First UK, whose majority shareholders are funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. The transaction was completed by Harris Williams & Co.’s Consumer Group, led by Edward Arkus and Danielius Uznys of the firm’s London office. 

“It has been a pleasure working with Fitness First UK’s management team on this transaction, which highlights our unparalleled track record of advising companies in the health and fitness sector,” said Edward Arkus, a managing director in the firm’s Consumer Group. “We look forward to watching the continued growth of the business acquired by DW Sports as it enters into this exciting new phase.”

“We are greatly encouraged by the acquisition and feel that DW Sports shares our ethos and values,” said Martin Seibold, managing director of Fitness First UK. “We are proud to have transformed Fitness First in the UK over the past four years and delighted to see the brand retained by DW Sports which is both a well-known and highly respected UK fitness operator.”

Fitness First UK is a leading full-service operator of 62 fitness clubs focused on London and the South East UK. Its unique value proposition is based on providing exceptional customer service at well invested clubs with a unique fitness product, at prices materially below premium operators. The company has made significant investments over the last few years to refurbish all clubs.

DW Sports was founded in 2009 with the acquisition of 52 fitness clubs and attached retail stores from JJB Sports Plc. DW Sports is a leading leisure and retail business headquartered in Wigan, UK, primarily operating within the North and Northwest of England. It currently operates 90 retail stores stocking a wide range of sports performance brands, as well as 78 leisure clubs.

Harris Williams & Co. (www.harriswilliams.com), a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE:PNC), is a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide.  The firm has deep industry knowledge, global transaction expertise and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Harris Williams & Co. provides sell-side and acquisition advisory, restructuring advisory, board advisory, private placements and capital markets advisory services.

Harris Williams & Co.’s Consumer Group has completed more than 50 transactions in recent years across a variety of verticals, including branded consumer products; consumer services; food, beverage and agribusiness; and restaurant and retail.  For more information on Harris Williams & Co.’s Consumer Group and other recent transactions, visit the Consumer Group’s section of the Harris Williams & Co. website.

Harris Williams & Co. Ltd is a private limited company incorporated under English law having its registered office at 5th Floor, 6 St. Andrew Street, London EC4A 3AE, UK, registered with the Registrar of Companies for England and Wales under company number 7078852. Directors: Mr. Ned Valentine, Mr. Paul Poggi, Mr. Thierry Monjauze and Mr. Aadil Khan, authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.