Les Mills International, Auckland, New Zealand, has acquired the Les Mills Midwest agency from SCW Fitness Education, Northbrook, IL, for an undisclosed amount.
Starting Feb. 1, distributorship of Les Mills programs in the Midwest will be managed by its wholly owned subsidiary, Les Mills U.S., according to a release from the company. Clubs affected by the change are in 12 states: Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.
No changes will occur to the trainings, auto-ship, assessments, billing and instructor portal, according to an e-blast from SCW Fitness about the change.
Sara Kooperman, who owns SCW Fitness Education, says the change will be beneficial to the 680 club operators who will transition to Les Mills U.S.
"I don't think they will experience any drop in support," she says. "Our hope is that because they are a larger agency, they will possibly be able to even increase support."
SCW became a distributor for Les Mills 10 years ago. During that time, SCW increased its number of licensed facilities more than fivefold, Kooperman says. Many of these operators may still work with the same people, as Kooperman says the goal is to have some of the SCW support staff transition to work for Les Mills U.S. SCW Fitness has about 50 employees, and about 20 of them worked either exclusively or partially on the Les Mills distribution side of the business.
SCW will maintain a relationship with Les Mills, as the company just signed an eight-year agreement to sponsor the SCW conferences. Les Mills will use SCW's 1,600-square-foot studio in Northbrook for trainings each month, Kooperman says.
Part of the impetus for the sale was to enable SCW to focus on its expanded business, which includes the SCW Mania shows and WATERinMOTION, an aquatics exercise program developed by SCW Fitness, Kooperman says. When SCW initially started as a Les Mills distributor, the company put on six SCW Mania shows each year with fewer sessions and speakers than it has today. But last year, it added its eighth show, with even more sessions and speakers at each show. SCW created the WATERinMOTION program seven years ago and expanded it recently with a program geared to seniors.
The sale of Les Mills Midwest leaves Les Mills with one non-subsidiary distributor in the United States, Fitmarc, which serves the South Central region of the country.
Phillip Mills, CEO of Les Mills International, said in a release from the company, "Sara Kooperman and her team helped introduce the Les Mills brand to the United States, and I will be forever grateful for her leadership and the collective efforts of the SCW Fitness team."
Les Mills U.S. CEO Jesper Magnusson said, "We intend to continue to build on our strong partnership with SCW Fitness, including an increased level of support of the MANIA Fitness Professional Conventions throughout the country."
Les Mills U.S. will maintain an office in Chicago, along with its existing offices in San Francisco and its U.S. headquarters in Baltimore.