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Club Members Protest Proposed Sale to LA Fitness

SILVER SPRING, MD -- Members of a Crunch-owned gym in Silver Spring, MD, opposed the club’s proposed acquisition by LA Fitness, citing a lost sense of community among their complaints, and won.

Rock Creek Sports Club, Silver Spring, MD, is an unbranded Crunch gym owned by AGT Crunch Acquisition LLC.

Crunch, the New York-based fitness chain, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May and is seeking to sell its assets to two private equity firms through an auction under court protection.

Court documents showed that LA Fitness International LLC was named as a potential buyer of Rock Creek. The Wall Street Journal reported that LA Fitness bid $300,000 for the Rock Creek club, but planned to close the club if the sale went through and transfer the nearly 1,900 memberships to its own nearby facility.

To voice their opposition to the sale, members of Rock Creek banded together and sent a protest letter to the Manhattan bankruptcy court.

“If I wanted to be a member of LA Fitness, I would have joined their club,” the letter read. “Rock Creek Sports Club is unique among health clubs in the area because it is a small neighborhood gym. It provides a family- and community-oriented atmosphere that is not available at other clubs in the area.”

In the letter, members expressed interest in seeing other buying offers for their club and said they would cancel their memberships if the LA Fitness sale went through.

LA Fitness has since pulled out of the deal, Crunch spokesman Alex J. Stockham, vice president of Rubenstein Associates, said today.

“Rock Creek Sports Club was included in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. However, LA Fitness is no longer bidding to acquire the membership of the Rock Creek Sports Club,” says Stockham. “Currently, there are two other bidders who are interested in acquiring both the gym and its membership, which we believe will allow the gym to stay open for its customers. We are currently in the process of identifying the winning bidder.”

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