Virgin Active looks for cash injection to help with expansion

Gym chain Virgin Active is hoping for financial investment from private equity to help it muscle up and take on sector leader Fitness First.

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Virgin Active is believed to be in talks with CVC Capital about selling a stake. The majority shareholder in the chain is Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and it is thought the group will dilute its holding but keep a sizeable proportion of shares.

Virgin Active is following an aggressive path of acquisition for growth and recently bought rival Esporta to add 55 sites to its 71-strong chain.

It acquitted Holmes Place five years ago.

The chain has been running a campaign under the slogan “More pleasure. Less pain” and recently signed a deal to become sponsor of the London Triathalon for three years, beginning this July.

Virgin Active was unavailable for comment at time of writing.

Look out for Marketing Week magazine’s overview of the gym sector next issue (cover date 23 June).

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