L Catterton Asia has made a “significant” investment in China-based Will’s Group, a provider of membership-based fitness facilities and services. No financial terms were disclosed.
SINGAPORE and GREENWICH, Conn., Nov. 29, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — L Catterton Asia, the Asian unit of the largest and most global consumer-focused private equity firm in the world, today announced a significant investment in Will’s Group (the “Company”), China’s leading provider of membership-based fitness facilities and services. L Catterton will partner with the existing management team and further its mission of building China’s leading premium fitness lifestyle brand. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in Shanghai in 1996, Will’s Group currently operates more than 130 fitness clubs serving nearly 400,000 members in 12 Chinese cities. With three distinct club brands, Will’s Group is the market leader in the Chinese fitness industry and is redefining the fast-growing premium fitness and wellness segment. The Company provides a complete and integrated offering, including general fitness space, group classes, personal training, body-building, swimming, yoga, spa and nutrition planning.
China is experiencing an unprecedented surge in enthusiasm for both competitive and recreational sports and its citizens are devoting an increased proportion of their time and spending on personal health and wellness. As a result, Chinese consumers are seeking more customized, flexible, convenient, service-oriented, and professional fitness centers that offer a variety of athletic and mindfulness activities. The strong appeal of the Will’s Group brand to health-conscious, young and affluent urban consumers strategically positions it as the leading lifestyle brand to provide the “fourth living space” for its customers, alongside office, home and social environments.
L Catterton Asia’s investment will accelerate the Company’s growth in China. Strategic priorities include expanding Will’s Group’s premium fitness lifestyle offerings in both major and secondary cities, recruiting additional fitness operation executives and offering staff training to support its world-class standards of service. The Company will benefit from L Catterton’s deep expertise in the fitness and wellness segment and will be fully supported by the industry resources, integration capabilities and international reach of L Catterton, including the firm’s strategic relationship with LVMH. Will’s Group will also have the opportunity to leverage and partner with companies in the L Catterton network to bring high-end lifestyle brands such as athleisure clothing, equipment and health products to Will’s Group customers across China.
L Catterton Asia Chairman and Managing Partner Ravi Thakran, stated, “The fitness industry is experiencing rapid growth in China. When Will’s Group was founded in 1996, only three marathon races were held across the country – last year, five million runners participated in over 1,100 marathons. With this phenomenal increase in sport and health activities, we see tremendous upside in China’s fitness industry. With Will’s Group’s expertise in fitness as a lifestyle, along with a growing member base and its strong relationships with real estate developers in prime locations, the Company is positioned to build the most prominent premium fitness brand in China. This is an unparalleled opportunity for Will’s Group to lead the industry as it responds to the needs of China’s health-conscious consumers.”
Will Wang, Founder of Will’s Group, commented, “We are proud of Will’s Group’s success as a pioneer in the fitness sector and are delighted to partner with L Catterton as we further scale up our services as China’s most successful fitness lifestyle brand. I am confident our partnership with L Catterton will enrich our members’ fitness experience, deliver operational efficiencies and offer exciting opportunities to our employees. L Catterton’s deep experience in building some of the world’s most successful health and fitness lifestyle brands, including Equinox, CorePower Yoga and Peloton will be invaluable as Will’s Group enters its next phase of growth.”
L Catterton actively invests in health and fitness brands globally, such as Equinox, CorePower Yoga, Peloton, 2XU, Pure Barre, Sweaty Betty, and ClassPass. In the Asia region, other notable investments include Pepe Jeans, OWNDAYS, Gentle Monster, YG Entertainment, Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality.
About L Catterton Asia
With over $15 billion of equity capital across six fund strategies in 17 offices globally, L Catterton is the largest and most global consumer-focused private equity firm in the world. L Catterton’s team of more than 160 investment and operating professionals partners with management teams around the world to implement strategic plans to foster growth, leveraging deep category insight, operational excellence, and a broad thought partnership network. Since 1989, the firm has made over 200 investments in leading consumer brands. L Catterton was formed through the partnership of Catterton, LVMH and Groupe Arnault. For more information about L Catterton, please visit lcatterton.com.
Launched in 2009, L Catterton Asia (previously known as L Capital Asia) is the Asian franchise of L Catterton, the world’s leading consumer growth investor. It has offices in Singapore and Mauritius, with further regional advisory presence in Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai and Sydney. L Catterton Asia invests in select consumer lifestyle businesses that will benefit from growing discretionary consumption in Asian markets. L Catterton Asia leverages its strategic relationship with LVMH and Groupe Arnault across the entire investment process, from proprietary deal origination and industry-specific due diligence to post-investment operational value-add to its portfolio companies. L Catterton Asia’s investments in China include Trendy International, Marubi, Xin Hee Co. Limited, Sasseur and Secoo, Asia’s largest online integrated upscale products and services platform.
About Will’s Group
Founded in Shanghai in 1996, Will’s Group currently operates more than 130 fitness clubs servicing nearly 400,000 members in 12 Chinese cities. Covering a diverse range of consumer’s needs, Will’s Group currently operates under three distinct brands in regular, premium and VIP club categories. The Company provides an integrated selection of services, including general fitness space, group classes, personal training, body building, swimming, yoga, spa and nutrition planning. Will’s Group is the clear leader in the Chinese fitness industry and a first mover in the fast-growing premium fitness segment.