Talwalkars snaps up majority stake in Snap Fitness’ Indian business

Gymnasium chain Talwalkars Better Value Fitness Ltd (TBVF) has acquired a majority stake in Force Fitness India Pvt Ltd, the master franchisee of US-based fitness clubs operator Snap Fitness Inc.

According to a stock market disclosure, Talwalkars has acquired a 50.01% stake in the Bengaluru-based company. The financial details of the deal could not immediately be ascertained.

“This will mark the most significant deal towards consolidating the fragmented fitness industry in India and propel TBVF to undisputed market leadership with over 250 locations,” TBVF said in the disclosure.

Mumbai-based financial services group company Square Advisors Pvt Ltd was the financial advisor to Force Fitness for the transaction.

Launched in 2008, Force Fitness runs over 60 gyms under the SNAP brand across Bangalore, Delhi Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Lucknow, Vadodara, Guwahati and Mysore, among others.

The deal will also allow Snap Fitness to expand its franchise footprint in India. “This will reduce SNAP’s costs of operations, marketing and equipment purchase,” Talwalkars said.

The gymnasium chain, which was launched in 1932, has two core offerings – basic fitness centre and lifestyle. The former is the mainstay of the company and is marked by a combination of owned and asset-light properties. The latter comprises a combination of asset-heavy offerings, including a club chain with David Lloyd Leisure Ltd, and lifestyle services such as zumba, total body resistance exercise, transform, nuform, yoga and aerobics.

According to Talwalkars, the Indian fitness industry is about Rs 10,000 crore and growing at 16-18% year-on-year. The market is estimated to touch Rs 11,500 crore in 2017.

Talwalkars had struck several deals in the past, both in India and in overseas markets. In November 2015, it had picked up a majority stake in Chennai-based fitness chain Inshape Health and Fitnez.

Two months later, it had also acquired a stake in Chennai-based yoga studio chain Zorba.

In the digital space, the company had picked up a minority stake in health and fitness centre discovery site GymTrekker Fitness.

Talwalkars made its first overseas acquisition in 2015, with a 49.5% stake in Sri Lanka’s Power World Gym, with plans of setting up 100 gymnasiums.

In 2016, the company had set up a separate entity, Talwalkars Lifestyles Ltd, to run its lifestyle and other value-added services business. The move was seen as a strategy to reduce its debt burden. Both companies are expected to be listed on the stock exchange.

The company had been growing 20-30% between 2012-13 and 2014-15. Last fiscal year, it had posted 17% growth in net sales to Rs 235.94 crore.

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