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Esporta and Invicta merge as fitness club industry begins consolidation

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Health and fitness club operator Invicta Leisure is to merge with Esporta. The deal will make the combined group, which will operate under the name Esporta Group Ltd, the UK's second largest premium health, fitness and racquet club operator.

The merger is backed by private equity group Duke Street Capital (DSC) which succeeded in its hostile takeover bid for Esporta in July.

'This acquisition will provide a strong platform from which to grow the business both organically and via acquisitions,' says Peter Tayor, DSC's managing director. 'Away from the turbulence of the stock market we should be able to employ substantial capital in the business to reinforce our leading market position.'

Kevin McCollum, chief executive and founder of Invicta will take over as CEO of the enlarged group, while Stuart Creed will be managing director (operations). Michael Ball, who briefly took over as CEO of Esporta following the resignation of Maurice Kelly last month, will resume his role as finance director and Nick Irens will be chairman.

'Esporta has some excellent clubs and the business fit with Invicta could not be better,' says McCollum.

The combined group will boast 18 racquets clubs and 42 health and fitness clubs and have more than 260,000 members.

The group also has a strong openings programme, with 13 new clubs scheduled to open by the end of 2003. Details: www. invictaleisure.co.uk or www.esporta.co.uk

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Health and fitness club operator Invicta Leisure is to merge with Esporta. The deal will make the combined group, which will operate under the name Esporta Group Ltd, the UK's second largest premium health, fitness and racquet club operator.
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