28 February 2017

BDA advises Navis on Celebrity Fitness merger with Fitness First Asia, creating one of the largest fitness club networks in Asia

a portfolio company of

merged with


BDA Partners is pleased to announce that its client, Navis Capital Partners, a leading private equity firm in Asia, has agreed to merge its portfolio company, Celebrity Fitness, the leading fitness club operator in Indonesia and Malaysia, with Fitness First Asia, the largest fitness club operator in SE Asia. Fitness First Asia is a portfolio company of Oaktree Capital, a leading global alternative asset manager. Following the merger, Navis and Oaktree will each own an equal share in the combined entity, Evolution Wellness.

Evolution Wellness will comprise 152 wholly-owned fitness clubs across Asia. Celebrity Fitness and Fitness First Asia recorded combined revenues of US$295m in 2016.

The merger brings together two of the most experienced management teams in the Asian health and fitness industry, with a combined staff strength of 7,000, serving 400,000 members. Complementary service offerings, geographic footprint and robust business models position Evolution Wellness for success, as well as operational and cost optimisation post-integration. Backed by strong financial sponsors, Navis and Oaktree, Evolution Fitness will capture growth potential and further advance ambitions in the fast-growing Asian health and fitness industry.

Martin Darby, CEO, Celebrity Fitness, said “Celebrity Fitness and Fitness First complement each other in their distinctive brand identities and market positioning. This merger will enable both brands to expand faster and move into new Asian countries. I look forward to assisting Evolution Wellness with this strategic expansion.”

Nicholas Bloy, Managing Partner, Navis, remarked “Celebrity Fitness has been a great success story since our acquisition in 2007 of the brand created by John Franklin. At the same time we have watched with admiration, the growth and success of Fitness First in the region. We’re excited to be taking the lead role in this new entity and will bring our sector knowledge and years of regional expertise to help Evolution Wellness develop and grow in new and dynamic ways to reach its fullest potential.”

"We are delighted to have helped Navis in this important merger. This brings together two of the most respected brands in fitness and creates a leading platform in Asia, serving the region's growing demand for health and wellness."

Paul DiGiacomo
Managing Director
BDA Partners

About Navis Capital

Navis Capital Partners was founded in 1998 to make private equity investments in buyouts, recapitalisations and financial restructurings in Asia, with preference for investments in enterprises with a strong or developing presence in Southeast Asia, Australia and Hong Kong. Over the years, it has made over 70 controlling investments most of which have been completed with little reliance on acquisition finance.

Navis Capital Partners contributes both capital and management expertise to its portfolio companies with the objective of directing strategic, operational and financial improvements. To date, it has one of the largest private equity professional teams in Asia, comprising over 60 individuals in 8 offices across the region, and manages several private and public equity funds totalling US$5 billion. www.naviscapital.com

About BDA

BDA Partners is a leader in cross-border investment banking involving Asia. BDA advises on M&A, capital raising, and restructuring. BDA has been consistently owned and managed by the same team since 1996. BDA has a track record of providing independent advice to blue-chip corporate and financial sponsor clients from North America, Europe, and Asia. BDA is headquartered in New York with offices in London, Dubai, Mumbai, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, and Tokyo. BDA was named M&A Advisory Firm of the Year at The ACG Champions Awards in 2015. BDA formed a partnership with William Blair & Company in 2011. www.bdapartners.com

BDA carries out its US securities business through BDA Advisors Inc, a broker-dealer registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a member of FINRA and SIPC. BDA’s UK subsidiary is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. BDA’s HK subsidiary is licensed and regulated by the Securities & Futures Commission.