Planet Fitness Franchisee Acquires 31 Clubs in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina

The owners of the acquired clubs—Glenn Dowler, Heather Robinson and Michael Hicks—will join Sunshine Fitness' executive team, according to a media release.(Photo courtesy Planet Fitness.)

Sunshine Fitness Growth Holdings, an operator of Planet Fitness clubs in the American Southeast, announced on May 31 it acquired two franchise groups representing 31 clubs in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. Sunshine Fitness now operates 64 clubs across the region.

As part of the deal, the owners of the acquired clubs—Glenn Dowler, Heather Robinson and Michael Hicks—will join Sunshine Fitness' executive team, according to a media release.

Sunshine Fitness is owned by private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners, San Francisco, which was also the prior majority owner of Planet Fitness. TSG acquired a majority stake in Sunshine Fitness in December 2017.

“Glenn, Michael and their respective teams have done an excellent job developing and operating top tier fitness clubs with strong, loyal customer followings," Sunshine Fitness Co-CEO Shane McGuiness said in a media release. "These transactions allow us to add talented leaders to our team, expand our presence in Florida and enter new markets in North and South Carolina, putting in place the infrastructure we need to continue executing on our growth plans.”

The deal included 20 clubs in South Florida and the Charlotte metro area, as well as 11 clubs across several markets in North Carolina and South Carolina.

“I am confident that our clubs and their members will benefit from the combined team at Sunshine Fitness,” Glenn Dowler said in the release. “As the original Planet Fitness franchisee, and one of the largest, Sunshine Fitness has proven itself to be an excellent operator focused on staying true to the Planet Fitness mission and enhancing the member experience.”

The McLean Group was financial advisor for the acquisition, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius was legal counsel to the sellers in both transactions and Ropes & Gray served as legal counsel to TSG.

“The Sunshine Fitness team has demonstrated its devotion to the health and well-being of its communities in the Southeast, and we believe they will help us accelerate our growth and penetration in the southeast United States,” Michael Hicks said in the release. “We look forward to working with them and to serving our members as a part of this new combined company.”

Sunshine Fitness was founded by Shane McGuiness and Eric Dore, who opened the first franchised Planet Fitness location in Altamonte Springs, Florida, in 2003. The Orlando-based group now operates clubs in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina.

In May 2018, PLNTF Holdings announced its subsidiary, PF Indy, the operator of Planet Fitness health clubs in the Indianapolis metro area, acquired 14 additional clubs in Alabama and Virginia.

Planet Fitness ranked seventh on Club Industry's Top 100 Health Clubs of 2017, with reported revenue of $378.2 million for 2016. The company is the highest-ranking franchisor on the list.

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