Bridgepoint acquires Virgin Active stake

The European midmarket firm has invested in Virgin’s health and fitness chain to support European expansion.

European private equity investment group Bridgepoint Capital has acquired a 55 per cent stake in Virgin Active, Virgin’s UK health and fitness chain, in a deal valuing the company at £110m. How much equity Bridgepoint invested in the deal has not been disclosed.

Commenting on the deal transaction, Bridgepoint Capital director Rob Moores said: “We were attracted by Virgin Active’s performance to date and the potential of a brand that is capable of further rollout in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia.” James Murray, director of Bridgepoint, commented that the Virgin brand distinguished the business from its rivals in an expanding market.

Bridgepoint Capital’s investment is the latest in a series of investments in the health and fitness sector. Previous investments include the E17m buyout of Living Well in 1994 and a E48m growth capital investment in Holmes Place in 1996.

Bridgepoint was advised by Travers Smith Braithwaite (legal), KPMG (financial) and Baird (market due diligence). Virgin Group received advice from Harbottle & Lewis (legal), New Boat House (corporate finance).

The firm, formerly the private equity division of NatWest, has some E4bn under management and typically invests in companies valued at up to E400m in a broad range of sectors. Bridgepoint made the investment from its European Private Equity Fund II.