Wednesday November 29, 2023

Fitness Chain Virgin Active Expands Amid $118M Capital Raise

  • Virgin Active announced a capital raise that totals $118 million.
  • It also acquired the “nutrition assets” of the South Africa-based brand for $35.1 million.
Virgin Active/Design: Alex Brooks
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London-based fitness chain Virgin Active is expanding from a gym company to a wholesale “combined fitness and nutrition” operation. To do so, the company has made two major moves: a capital raise and an acquisition. 

The capital raise totaling $118 million included retail billionaire Christo Wiese — who contributed $65.6 million to the effort — as well as the owners of Real Foods Group, who gave $23.8 million.

Virgin Active also acquired the “nutrition assets” of Real Foods for $35.1 million. 

  • The brands acquired include Kauai and NU restaurants.
  • Real Foods Group CEO, Dean Kowarski will also assume the role as Virgin Active’s CEO. 

The acquisition isn’t final, however, and still has to meet regulators’ approval.

Post-Pandemic Rebound

Virgin Active, which is owned by Virgin Group Ltd and the private equity firm Brait SE, is bouncing back after major financial problems during the pandemic.

The company saw many gyms close in South Africa and the U.K., all while rent costs piled up. It went through a restructure in May 2021 following the losses. 

Now, Virgin Active hopes to use pandemic-induced changes to consumer habits as a selling point. “The pandemic has accelerated people’s appetite to lead a healthier lifestyle,” the company said in a statement.

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