Bunker Hill buys California Family Fitness

Private equity firm Bunker Hill Capital, the owner of the Papa Gino’s pizza restaurant brand, has announced a ‘significant investment’ in the operator of the California Family Fitness club chain.

Bunker Hill Capital, the Boston-based private equity firm, announced that it has made a “significant investment” in California Family Health, the operator of California Family Fitness health clubs. Terms were not disclosed.

California Family Health operates 13 clubs in the Sacramento area, with two more club openings scheduled for 2007. The company’s co-founders, Larry Gury and Russ Kuhn, will remain significant owners of their enterprise, and will remain as co-presidents.

Bunker Hill—formed in 2003 by BancBoston Capital alums—generally makes investments in lower middle-market companies with enterprise values in the $20 million to $150 million (€15.7 million to €118 million) range, in a wide variety of sectors. In January, for example, Bunker Hill acquired Specialty Coating Systems, an Indianapolis chemical coating company. Last year, in its first transaction, Bunker Hill bought Papa Gino’s Holdings, a Needham, Massachusetts-based fast-food restaurant company that operates Papa Gino’s and D’Angelo’s restaurants and brings in about $200 million (€157 million) in revenue annually.

Bunker Hill’s investment in California Family Health is just the latest of numerous recent private equity forays into the fitness sector. Apax Partners and The Blackstone Group are currently interested in acquiring UK gym and racquetball club chain Esporta, which is now owned by Duke Street Capital; last year Angelo, Gordon & Co. snapped up Crunch Fitness, MidOcean Partners bought LA Fitness, and Forstmann Little acquired 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide.