Two private equity firms—JLM Financial Partners, Austin, Texas, and Eagle Merchant Partners, Atlanta, Georgia—have partnered to create the country’s largest Planet Fitness franchisee, the companies announced Thursday in a release.
The newly established United PF Partners will oversee 59 Planet Fitness clubs across nine states: Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia. United PF also possesses development rights to build future clubs across the Midwest, South and Mid-Atlantic regions. JLM and Eagle Merchant will directly fund these developments as well as improvements to already-existing clubs, according to the release.
“I’m thrilled to be able to partner with some of the top franchisees in the Planet Fitness system to share best practices and create a leading enterprise,” United PF CEO Trey Owen said. “We also are very pleased to join forces with Eagle, which has deep experience in building and leading large-scale multi-unit franchise businesses.”
Owen is president of the Planet Fitness Independent Franchisee Association. Prior to becoming CEO of United PF, he founded Austin-based PF-TO Management, which operates 12 Planet Fitness clubs in Texas. Prior to entering the fitness industry, he founded and later sold Texas Computer Training Institute.
United PF’s board of directors will include members of JLM and Eagle Merchant, according to the release. Within United PF, the following franchisees will retain club ownership and senior leadership roles: the Lomasney group (West Virginia and Pennsylvania), the Henson group (Kansas and Missouri), the Landry group (Alabama and Mississippi) and the Robinson group (Louisiana).
“We are very excited about the direction of the Planet Fitness brand with its superior value proposition and believe United PF is well positioned with a top-tier management team,” Eagle Merchant co-founder Andrew Hirsekorn said in the release.
Financing for United PF was handled via Goldman Sachs Specialty Lending Group, AB Private Credit Investors and Antares, the release said.
Planet Fitness ranked seventh on Club Industry's Top 100 Health Clubs of 2016, with a 2015 reported revenue of $330.5 million. The company also reported third quarter revenue of $87 million, a 26.4 percent increase from the same period last year, according to a recent earnings report.