Snapdragon Capital’s Xpo gets ownership of Pure Barre from L Catterton

L Catterton has transferred ownership of Pure Barre, the fitness chain it has owned for three years, to a former executive.

Xponential Fitness (also known as Xpo), a portfolio company of Snapdragon Capital Partners, added Pure Barre to its stable of brands. The transaction closed on Oct. 25. Terms of the cashless deal weren’t disclosed.

L Catterton isn’t exiting, said Xpo CEO Anthony Geisler. Catterton rolled its Barre stake into Xpo and now owns a minority of the platform, Geisler said.

Geisler, who founded Xpo in 2017, said his goal was to make the Irvine, California, company a curator of boutique fitness, offering brands that represent every vertical of the industry.

These include dance, cycling, yoga, assisted stretching, rowing, Pilates and ballet-inspired barre. “I only wanted to own the best in every vertical and the biggest,” Geisler said. “Pure Barre is the largest player in the barre space.”

Pure Barre, Denver, has more than 517 studios throughout the U.S. and Canada. The classes, which use a ballet barre and small, isometric movements, claim to transform body shapes.

Pure Barre is the seventh brand to join Xponential Fitness, which includes Club Pilates, CycleBar, StretchLab, Row House, Yoga Six, and AKT.

Buying Pure Barre puts Xpo on the map, Geisler said. “At 2,200 locations, [Xpo] is becoming quite an animal,” he said.

The transaction wasn’t the result of an auction. Geisler said he always had his sights set on owning Pure Barre and began discussions with Marc Magliacano, an L Catterton managing partner, months ago.

“I was finally able to convince Marc and L Catterton and that allowed us to buy 100 percent of Pure Barre,” he said.

For L Catterton, the investment dates to 2015, when the consumer-focused private equity firm invested in Pure Barre. How much capital L Catterton provided is unclear, but it owned more than 80 percent of the company. Executives for the buyout shop declined comment.

Fast and nimble

Xpo backer Snapdragon was formed by Mark Grabowski earlier this year. The independent sponsor invests in middle-market companies in health and wellness, consumer services and health services. Based in Greenwich, Connecticut, the firm typically invests from $40 million to $500 million equity per deal.

Mark Grabowski, Snapdragon
Mark Grabowski, Managing Partner, Snapdragon Capital Partners. Photo via Snapdragon’s website.

Grabowski is a former L Catterton executive. He spent nearly 10 years at the consumer-focused buyout shop before he left in August 2016 and joined TPG Growth.

Although he was still listed as a partner on the TPG Growth’s website as of Oct. 26, Grabowski said: “I left [TPG] earlier this year and launched Snapdragon.”

Xpo was one of Snapdragon’s first deals. The PE firm, along with Geisler, acquired Xpo in June from TPG Growth. It made Xpo a platform and bought Pure Barre as an add-on.

Snapdragon also acquired St. Gregory Development Group, a sales and brand development firm, over the summer.

The name Snapdragon refers to the 19th century North Carolina privateering ship that was successful in combat against the British armada, said Grabowski, a history buff. “Having been at larger firms, I like the idea of being a fast and nimble investment firm,” he said.

Snapdragon, an independent sponsor, plans to acquire more high-growth consumer businesses, Grabowski said.

“Health and wellness has been a core area of focus of mine and will continue to be so in the future,” he said.

Action Item: Contact Snapdragon Managing Partner Mark Grabowski at markg@snapdragoncap.com or on his cell at +1 646-321-0134.