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Bridgepoint tries again for Holmes Place

Bridgepoint has made a preliminary offer of £130m for the UK fitness chain, £40m lower than its indicative offer made in July.

Bridgepoint Capital has re-entered the race to acquire UK fitness chain Holmes Place following the withdrawal of an offer from Royal Bank Private Equity-backed trade buyer Cannons last month.

 

Bridgepoint’s latest offer, reportedly worth around £130m, is over 25 per cent below an earlier indicative offer made by the UK private equity firm in July and is more than 35 per cent below Cannons’ offer. A Bridgepoint spokesperson declined to comment.

 

Cannons’ original withdrawal from exclusive talks came about after Holmes Place confirmed that it would not meet profit forecasts. Holmes Place announced flat pre-tax profits of £6.7m for the first half of 2002, despite a 28 per cent increase in turnover.

 

Cannons has indicated that it intends to make a second, reduced offer for the business, which currently has debt in excess of £140m. Holmes Place has also said that its full-year results are likely to be lower-than-expected as the company comes to terms with lower subscription levels.

 

Holmes Place is currently trading at 114 pence per share, just over half its price in November 2001 and 15 pence per share below the reported Bridgepoint offer. The Bridgepoint offer is likely to be supported by Holmes Place chief executive Allan Fisher, who led the original approach in July.