Bally Files Financials; Considers Sale or Merger


CHICAGO--The wait is now over. After a year-and-a-half quiet period and a deadline extension, Bally Total Fitness released its financial statements for 2004 and the first nine months of 2005. The company also restated its financials for 2000 through 2003. Visit the company's investor Web site to download the annual and quarterly reports. The company announced that it posted a $1.8 million net profit versus losses in 2003 and 2004. While the number of new members increased in 2005, the total members slipped 1 percent.

In today's investor conference call, Paul Toback compared the process of turning around a company with a "debt heavy capital structure and a "languished and broken business model" to changing the tires on a car that's going 60 miles an hour. He said to increase shareholder value, the company is working with J.P. Morgan and the Blackstone Group to consider a sale of Bally or a merger with another company. Toback said he has not received any formal offers for the company, and he's not prepared to set a timetable for a future sale of Bally.

"I believe Bally has the positive ability to grow and address the capital issues plaguing our company," he said. "The sooner we can get the ability to grow clubs and get more available capital the better, but we don't want to rush into something that's not in the best interest of our shareholders."

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