UK: TDR Capital acquires David Lloyd Leisure chain in £750m deal

TDR Capital is acquiring the David Lloyd Leisure chain.

TDR Capital is acquiring the David Lloyd Leisure chain. - Credit: Getty Images/Hemera

Fitness chain David Lloyd Leisure has been snapped up by a private equity firm for around £750million amid plans to expand in Europe.

The tennis-based health and fitness clubs has been acquired by TDR Capital, which plans a £50m investment programme.

TDR, which has previously invested in businesses such as Pizza Express and Center Parcs UK, is also looking at 20 new sites in the UK as well as acquisitions in this country.

David Lloyd Leisure, founded by the former Davis Cup captain, currently operates 81 clubs across the UK, including branches in Ipswich, Cambridge, Basildon and Southend, and 10 on the Continent.

It was peviously controlled by property group London & Regional and private equity firm Caird Capital who put up for sale in January in an attempt to refinance a reported £800m of debt and fund expansion plans.

A number of private equity bidders are thought to have been circling the company which says it has enjoyed strong trading this year, with membership growing by 4% and 5% fewer members leaving, despite the prolonged economic downturn which has squeezed gym chains.

It has also been opening compact high street format venues called DL Studios in urban locations such as Putney, Winchester and Islington, where its full-size clubs would not be feasible.

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TDR, which has previously invested in businesses such as Pizza Express and Center Parcs UK, plans a £50 million investment programme to enhance facilities.

Scott Lloyd, chief executive of David Lloyd Leisure (DLL), said: “I am delighted to be partnering with TDR for the next phase in DLL’s development.

“The team at TDR have an enviable track record of investing in highly successful businesses, particularly in the leisure sector and DLL and its members will see immense benefit from their experience and expertise.”

Manjit Dale, founding partner of TDR Capital, said: “DLL is a unique business with a market leading position and a fantastic brand.

“We look forward to investing capital in order to further improve the membership experience and to attract new members.”