US Fitness, Galiani Brothers Acquire Sport & Health

US Fitness Holdings LLC, led by brothers Kirk and John Galiani, announced tonight it has acquired Sport & Health, McLean VA, and has added the company to its portfolio of clubs in Virginia and the Washington, DC, area.

The Galianis, co-CEOs of US Fitness who formerly ran Gold's Gym, will serve as co-executive chairmen of the combined company. US Fitness also operates Onelife Fitness clubs and Crunch Fitness clubs throughout Virginia and the Washington, DC, area.

Sport & Health has 23 clubs (20 owned, three managed) with one under construction in the Washington, DC, metro area. Sport & Health CEO Mark Fisher and CFO Scott Thomas will continue in their current positions and will expand their roles to include the US Fitness clubs. Kirk Galiani, reached tonight, declined to disclose terms of the deal to Club Industry.

"I view Mark and Scott as two of the best health club executives in the industry," Galiani said in a statement. "Combined with the strength of our existing management team and club operators, we look forward to growing the company and moving forward together."

Fisher has more than 27 years of experience in the fitness industry—the last nine at Sport & Health. Thomas has more than 30 years of health club industry experience, including more than 17 years as CFO.

"I've followed the Galianis through their career, and it's remarkable what they've accomplished," Fisher said in a statement. "They purchased, built and later sold Gold's Gym International, realizing the first major exit in the industry. Now with the growth of US Fitness, they are once again one of the dominant health club operators in the country."

In 2011, the Galianis partnered with New Evolution Ventures (NeV), a Lafayette, CA-based private equity company founded by Mark Mastrov, and formed US Fitness.

"When we teamed up with Kirk and John three years ago, our goal was to grow US Fitness into one of the largest health club chains in the country," Mastrov, NeV chairman and founder of 24 Hour Fitness, said in a statement. "We are well on our way to accomplishing our goal ahead of expectations."

Sport & Health, Onelife Fitness, and the Crunch clubs will each maintain their brands and identities under the US Fitness umbrella. There are currently nine Onelife Fitness clubs and three under construction as well as five Crunch clubs and many more planned to open, Kirk Galiani told Club Industry. US Fitness, which also is based in McLean, VA, is approaching 2 million square feet in health clubs, Galiani added.

Sport & Health, which has served the Washington, DC, area since 1973, is No. 13 on Club Industry's Top 100 Clubs list with an estimated 2013 revenue of $106.1 million.

"Having lived our entire lives in the Washington, DC, area, we have always been impressed with the Sport & Health clubs," John Galiani said in a statement. "After getting to know Mark, Scott, and other members of the management team, we realized how aligned our companies are in our passion to inspire people to improve their lives through health and fitness."

Piper Jaffray & Co. served as financial advisor to both US Fitness and Sport & Health in the transaction. Dechert LLP acted as legal advisor to US Fitness, and Bean Kinney & Korman PC acted as legal advisor to Sport & Health. Benefit Street Partners LLC provided the debt financing as the sole lead arranger and sole book running manager.

This is the third major acquisition in the industry in less than 30 days. Last month, Equinox, New York, acquired the Sports Club/LA clubs operated by Millennium Partners Sports Club Management, Boston. Also last month, Gold's Gym, Dallas, announced an agreement to acquire The Rush Fitness Complex, Knoxville, TN.