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LifeFit Group confirms Waterland Private Equity as its new investor
POSTED 17 Jun 2024 . BY Kath Hudson
Fitness First Black is the premium brand Credit: LifeFit Group
Waterland has acquired LifeFit Group
Oaktree is exiting after 11 years with LifeFit
Both parties are ambitious about growing LifeFit further, with the target of 200+ sites in five eyars
Waterland previously invested in Basic-Fit and currently has a stake in FIT/One
German health and fitness operator, LifeFit Group, has found a new investor – Waterland Private Equity Investments. The deal is expected to complete later this year.

The investment will allow LifeFit Group to accelerate the growth strategy it has pursued since its foundation in 2019, with the backing of Oaktree Capital, which has seen the portfolio grow from approximately 50 clubs to more than 140 clubs, with more than 400,000 members.

Waterland is a European investment company with extensive experience in the health and fitness industry, having invested in Basic-Fit Group from 2005 to 2013, supporting the low-cost chain on its journey becoming the second largest health club operator in Europe.

The company also held a major stake in the Exercite Group (Hansefit) which developed into one of the largest corporate health and wellness benefit solutions providers in Germany and the Netherlands prior to its sale to the Epassi Group in February 2024. Waterland is still invested in the German gym chain FIT/One.

Waterland will help LifeFit Group become one of the leading health club operators in the region and says it believes there is still significant growth potential in the European fitness market. The existing management team, led by CEO, Martin Seibold, will continue to run the business, with Waterland as a strategic advisory partner.

Seibold said: “We're delighted to have such a competent and experienced investor as Waterland. With their expertise and financial support, we're absolutely certain we'll be able to continue along our chosen path, further strengthening our position in the market and expanding our business”.

Jörg Dreisow, supervisory board member at Waterland, says: “We're convinced of the quality and potential of LifeFit Group and look forward to working with the management team on the future of the business. We're confident our resources and commitment will further accelerate the growth of LifeFit Group”.

Outgoing investment partner, Oaktree, supported the company through the pandemic, investing more than €50 million.

LifeFit Group operates a number of brands, including Fitness First, Fitness First Black (premium), Fitness First Red (full service, best price), Elbgym (HIIT), Barry’s (boutique HIIT) The Gym Society (boutique) and – from Xponential Fitness – Club Pilates and YogaSix.

When Seibold took over as CEO, in 2017, he had a three-year plan to prepare the company for sale. In 2019 he took the bold step of making Fitness First Germany the founding brand of LifeFit Group, with the intention of establishing a leading brand in each of Germany’s fitness segments. But then the pandemic interrupted the plans, causing what Seibold describes as the most challenging period of his career.

Interviewed in HCM last year, Seibold said he wanted to make Fitness First the the strongest brand in Germany within five years, reaching more than 200 sites, with the personal dream of seeing the business through an IPO.
 


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Latest news

17 Jun 2024

LifeFit Group confirms Waterland Private Equity as its new investor
BY Kath Hudson

Fitness First Black is the premium brand

Fitness First Black is the premium brand
photo: LifeFit Group

German health and fitness operator, LifeFit Group, has found a new investor – Waterland Private Equity Investments. The deal is expected to complete later this year.

The investment will allow LifeFit Group to accelerate the growth strategy it has pursued since its foundation in 2019, with the backing of Oaktree Capital, which has seen the portfolio grow from approximately 50 clubs to more than 140 clubs, with more than 400,000 members.

Waterland is a European investment company with extensive experience in the health and fitness industry, having invested in Basic-Fit Group from 2005 to 2013, supporting the low-cost chain on its journey becoming the second largest health club operator in Europe.

The company also held a major stake in the Exercite Group (Hansefit) which developed into one of the largest corporate health and wellness benefit solutions providers in Germany and the Netherlands prior to its sale to the Epassi Group in February 2024. Waterland is still invested in the German gym chain FIT/One.

Waterland will help LifeFit Group become one of the leading health club operators in the region and says it believes there is still significant growth potential in the European fitness market. The existing management team, led by CEO, Martin Seibold, will continue to run the business, with Waterland as a strategic advisory partner.

Seibold said: “We're delighted to have such a competent and experienced investor as Waterland. With their expertise and financial support, we're absolutely certain we'll be able to continue along our chosen path, further strengthening our position in the market and expanding our business”.

Jörg Dreisow, supervisory board member at Waterland, says: “We're convinced of the quality and potential of LifeFit Group and look forward to working with the management team on the future of the business. We're confident our resources and commitment will further accelerate the growth of LifeFit Group”.

Outgoing investment partner, Oaktree, supported the company through the pandemic, investing more than €50 million.

LifeFit Group operates a number of brands, including Fitness First, Fitness First Black (premium), Fitness First Red (full service, best price), Elbgym (HIIT), Barry’s (boutique HIIT) The Gym Society (boutique) and – from Xponential Fitness – Club Pilates and YogaSix.

When Seibold took over as CEO, in 2017, he had a three-year plan to prepare the company for sale. In 2019 he took the bold step of making Fitness First Germany the founding brand of LifeFit Group, with the intention of establishing a leading brand in each of Germany’s fitness segments. But then the pandemic interrupted the plans, causing what Seibold describes as the most challenging period of his career.

Interviewed in HCM last year, Seibold said he wanted to make Fitness First the the strongest brand in Germany within five years, reaching more than 200 sites, with the personal dream of seeing the business through an IPO.



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