F45 Training heading to the stock market - plans 23,000 studios globally
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F45 Training heading to the stock market - plans 23,000 studios globally

F45 Training has filed a notification to list on the New York Stock Exchange
HIIT studio operator looks to grow rapidly
Filing shows F45 believes there is scope for 7,000 studios in the US and 23,000 globally
Founded in 2012, F45 is part-owned by actor Mark Wahlberg
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Australian HIIT chain F45 Training has filed a notification to list on the New York Stock Exchange.

The franchised studio operator hasn't announced a date for the initial public offering (IPO) – nor the number of shares or their price – but does reveal that the funding raised through the listing will be used to repay debt and to fuel future growth.

Founded in 2012, F45 is part-owned by actor Mark Wahlberg and currently has nearly 1,500 studios in 63 countries.

In 2019, Wahlberg and FOD Capital, a fund managed by Michael Raymond, led a private equity investment in F45 through MWIG, a private investment vehicle.

F45 announced its plans to list on the US-based NASDAQ stock exchange in June 2020, after securing a deal with Crescent Acquisition Corporation (CAC), a special purpose acquisition company.

The two companies then terminated their agreement in October, with F45 CEO Adam Gilchrist saying that approaching the public markets at the time "was not the right option for F45".

Those concerns, however, now seem to have been eased.

"We believe there is a significant opportunity to meaningfully expand our franchise studio footprint in the United States," F45 Training said in the filing, adding that it plans to open up to 7,000 studios in the US and 23,000 globally.

"As of March 31, 2021, we had 941 franchises sold and 518 total studios in the US.

"Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had seen the pace of our US growth accelerate with average net franchises sold per month increasing from 12 in 2017 to 18 in 2018 to 32 in 2019.

"Due to COVID-19, the average net franchises sold per month decreased in 2020 to 10.

"Based on current franchises sold in Australia per capita as of March 31, 2021, we believe there is long-term studio potential for us to open over 7,000 studios in the US.

"As of March 31, 2021, we had 630 franchises sold outside of our core markets of the United States and Australia. Based on an extrapolation of current franchises sold in Australia per capita as of March 31, 2021, we believe there is a long-term global opportunity for over 23,000 studios, with a potential for approximately 16,000 studios outside of the US market.

"We believe we can continue to grow our international presence through our existing franchising strategy and by opportunistically pursuing master franchising agreements to sell select territories to experienced, local partners."

The filing also offers an insight into the effects the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns have had on international fitness operators like F45.

As of March 31, 2021, the company had approximately 1,286 open studios, which represented 86 per cent of its total estate. The remaining 14 per cent were located in regions that continue to face restrictions.

F45 saw revenues decrease to US$82.3m for the year ended December 31, 2020 – compared to $92.7m for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Additionally, between 1 February 2020 and 31 March 2021, a total of 15 F45 studios permanently closed, representing less than 1 per cent of its total number of studios.

"We believe our performance over the course of the pandemic has underscored the resilience of our business model," F45 said.

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Australian HIIT chain F45 Training has filed a notification to list on the New York Stock Exchange.
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