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Fitness First Germany sale ‘still on,’ says MD

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The sale of Fitness First Germany is still alive, according to its managing director Stefan Tilk, who said the offload to an unnamed private equity firm is moving forward.

The intended sale of Fitness First’s 80-club-strong German arm by owner Oaktree Capital was first revealed in October, but after months without an update, the deal appeared to have gone cold. However, speaking at the European Health & Fitness Forum (EHFF) in Cologne, Germany, during FIBO week, Fitness First Germany MD Tilk said the sale – speculated to be worth around £200m (US$323m €253m) – is still progressing. Health Club Management understands the deal is expected to be concluded within the next month.

Speaking during a panel discussion, Tilk said the Germany business has formulated a five-year plan to foster growth within its existing portfolio and membership base by driving secondary spend. Tilk noted the health and fitness industry – particularly in Europe – is notoriously bad at raising additional revenue, with an average club’s revenue from non-dues just five per cent. He said Fitness First would seek to drive sales of personal training, F&B and biological age profiling, as well as selling extras through its online platform.

Fitness First Germany acquired online German fitness company NewMoove in October 2014 and Tilk said the firm’s online expertise was already paying dividends and would play a key part in the five-year-plan.

“The NewMoove team are bringing expertise for handling e-leads (internet leads) and treating users how they want to be treated,” he said.

“We as an industry haven’t been geared up for online demand. At Fitness First, our conversion rate for offline leads is one in two – which is pretty good – however our rate for e-leads is one in ten. Teaming up with NewMoove has enhanced our online platform and we’re now getting much better.”

Health Club Management will be on hand throughout FIBO 2015, live reporting on the latest developments throughout the show and posting them straight to the Health Club Management website. Head of news Jak Phillips will also be live-tweeting from the event, follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

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The sale of Fitness First Germany is still alive, according to its managing director Stefan Tilk, who said the offload to an unnamed private equity firm is moving forward.
HAF,FIT,IND,PHR
Fitness First Germany MD Stefan Tilk (far left) takes part in a panel discussion at EHFF 2015

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