Baker McKenzie has advised Pure Group, an upmarket Hong Kong-headquartered gym chain, on its investment partnership with private equity firm FountainVest Partners and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP).
Kirkland & Ellis advised a consortium comprising FountainVest and OTPP, while Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison acted as counsel for OTPP, advising the Canadian pension plan on certain aspects on the deal.
Financial details were not disclosed, though Bloomberg reported in late November the deal values Pure at more than $400 million, citing people familiar with the matter while it said talks were ongoing.
“With a base of increasingly health-conscious Asian consumers and an expanding focus on health as the new wealth, it is an opportune time for the business to evolve to its next phase,” Pure said in a statement.
The gym chain, which also operates yoga and dining facilities, has about 80,000 customers and more than 1,900 employees, with outlets in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei and New York. “Our new partners have a very successful investment track record and some fantastic complementary businesses in their portfolio,” said its CEO and co-founder Colin Grant. “They understand and share our vision as the leading premium wellness brand in Asia, and contribute a valuable mix of international outlook and vast knowledge of the global market.”
Both FountainVest and OTPP have experience in the fitness and its related sectors. FountainVest has investments in fitness app Codoon, consumer app Meituan-Dianping – both popular in China – and the China joint venture of leading sports talent agency WME-IMG, while OTPP invested in health club chain 24 Hour Fitness as well as GNC, a leading global retailer of health and wellness products.
“We are convinced that the market for health and wellness in Asia will continue to grow in the years ahead especially in emerging markets such as China, and Pure is in a prime position to capitalise on this amazing opportunity,” said Frank Tang, CEO and managing partner of FountainVest. “With our broad networks in the region, we will support Pure to unlock its full potential and continue developing its professional team of experts.”
The Bakers team was led by Hong Kong-based M&A partner Tracy Wut.
Hong Kong corporate partners Nicholas Norris and Derek Poon led the team for Kirkland, while the Paul Weiss team included Hong Kong corporate partner Betty Yap.