Virgin Active may either be sold or undergo a float option on the London Stock Exchange. Sir Richard Branson is set to cash in nicely on either option. While management has met with private equity investors for a sale, Sir Richard has instructed banks to work on the fitness club’s listing.
With locations in Britain, Italy, Spain, Portugal and South Africa three are 187 clubs and 1 million members.
The company has fared well having posted double digit growth in recent years. Last year sales rose 10 per cent.
While the company is looking at both a sale and a floatation, analysts feel a sale is more likely. Mainly because of Sir Richard’s floatation history. In 1996 he floated Virgin group and then took it private two years later at the same price.
Virgin Active is facing dependence on foreign markets for growth due to the economic problems at home in the UK. It plans to open 20 more clubs in Italy in the next five years and 15 more to the already 91 in South Africa.