Behind the Scenes
Matthew Stevens CEO of The Bay Club Co says the purchase of Spectrum Athletic Clubs took many years and included him on both sides of the negotiations at different points in the process Photo courtesy of The Bay Club Co

Matthew Stevens, CEO of The Bay Club Co., says the purchase of Spectrum Athletic Clubs took many years and included him on both sides of the negotiations at different points in the process. Photo courtesy of The Bay Club Co.

The Long and Winding Road to The Bay Club Co.'s Purchase of Spectrum Athletic Clubs

Matthew Stevens, CEO of The Bay Club Co., says the purchase of Spectrum Athletic Clubs took many years and included him on both sides of the negotiations at different points in the process. (Photo courtesy of The Bay Club Co.)

If you have ever been involved in purchasing or selling one or more health clubs, you already know that these deals don't happen overnight. But have you heard of deals that take close to a decade to come to fruition?

The sale of the Spectrum Athletic Clubs to The Bay Club Co. earlier this month is one such deal, as Matthew Stevens, CEO of The Bay Club Co., San Francisco, recently recounted.

The path to the purchase started in 2000 with the relationship that Stevens developed with David Wong. At that time, Stevens was in management at Club Sports International (now Wellbridge), and Wong was a managing partner at Brentwood Associates. Wong was looking to purchase Club Sports International. Then, in 2003, Wong hired Stevens to be CEO of Spectrum, which Brentwood Associates owned at that time, and Wong became a mentor to Stevens.

In 2007, Stevens began courting The Bay Club Co. (then known as Western Athletic Clubs and headed by Jim Gerber) to purchase Spectrum, but the courtship only led to Stevens being brought in to replace Gerber as CEO of The Bay Club Co. in 2008.

However, Stevens did not give up on the merger of the two brands and instead began pursuing his former company with the desire to add Los Angeles, a market he knew well from his time at Spectrum, to The Bay Club Co. fold. After KSL Capital sold its interest in The Bay Club Co. to York Capital Management last summer, the door opened to the purchase.

"I always felt these were a natural fit with each other because the markets line up very similarly," Stevens says, noting that each company's demographic and psychographic profiles mirror each other.

"So it's been a long process, and what I like to say is that we're putting the band back together , but a new and improved band," Stevens says. 

Whether other long and winding roads are in the future of The Bay Club Co. remains to be seen, but Stevens says the company plans for aggressive growth during the next three to five years. To find out more about his plans, read this article

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