(Reuters) — Shareholders of Saudi Arabia’s Bodymasters have received initial interest from four potential buyers ahead of a potential 500 million riyal ($133 million) sale of the fitness chain later this year, sources aware of the matter said on Wednesday.
The gym brand is currently owned through a 60/40 percent split by two funds run separately by Saudi-based private equity firms Amwal Al Khaleej and MEFIC Capital.
The four potential buyers are regional private equity firms, said two sources who declined to name them.
No formal sale process is underway but the quartet has been in informal talks about a deal, the sources said.
One of the sources added a deal could be concluded by the end of the year, depending on the progression of talks and market conditions.
Amwal Al Khaleej declined to comment, while MEFIC Capital didn’t respond to a request for comment. The
sources spoke on condition of anonymity as the information isn’t public.
Bodymasters currently has 28 gyms, mostly in Riyadh but also in Qassim, Dammam and Khamees Mushait, according to its website.
Private equity dealmaking in the Gulf has struggled recently as sellers, buoyed by a period of surging economic growth and valuations, remain reluctant to reduce their prices in the face of declining oil prices and slower state spending.
But consumer-focused companies who can tap into the region’s young and increasingly-affluent population remain relatively immune to the slowdown. The steady cash flows help retain investor demand.
Several bidders, including Saudi Arabian dairy firm Almarai , have shown initial interest in buying a majority stake in the United Arab Emirates’ National Food Products Company, and private equity house Fajr Capital is in talks to buy a majority stake in Gulf food and beverage franchising group Cravia. ($1 = 3.7525 riyals) (Reporting by David French and Hadeel Al Sayegh; Editing by Katharine Houreld)