Australian fitness giant F45 could be the latest Aussie business to list in the United States, with local fitness business experts praising the brand for growth and marketing expertise.
On Thursday Bloomberg reported the franchise, which has more than 700 global training outlets, had filed confidentially for an initial public offer in the United States.
The company was founded by equities trader Rob Deutsch in 2012 and quickly expanded to hundreds of fitness centres. F45 was valued at $634 million after Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg’s investment vehicle took a stake last year, according to sources close to the business.
F45 is a franchise training network which offers high intensity workouts of 45 minutes in length. In 2017, Mr Deutsch told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that there were 480 studios in Australia and 750 across the world, with turnover of around $400,000 for each studio.
“We’re the fastest ever franchise rollout in Australia and we believe in the world,” he said at the time.
Reports on Thursday suggested F45 had not made a final decision on listing in the US but that confidential documents had been filed to begin the process.
I honestly think people think it’s a fad, it’s not a fad.Trish Freeman
The company did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday and several local franchisees declined to comment.
A number of fitness brands including franchise operator Planet Fitness are already on the US public markets. The Planet Fitness share price is up 35 per cent over the past year and trades at $US79.02 ($114.41).
Fitness business consultant Trish Freeman has coached a number of F45 franchisees through her sports management company Oxigen Business Consulting.
Ms Freeman said having worked in the industry for a number of years, she had never seen a gym operator scale as fast as F45 and she was confident the brand had longevity and encouraged loyal customers.
“I honestly think people think it’s a fad, it’s not a fad,” she said.
“Everyone is trying to copy it [the model] — but no matter what, F45 will continue.”
Managing director of fitness business consultancy Active Management, Justin Tamsett, said F45 had a first-mover advantage for its online marketing approach to a high-intensity workout.
“Their timing was also perfect because they came in at the front end of the influencer marketing [trend]. They then grew quite rapidly across local areas,” Mr Tamsett said.
“The way they packaged it up was really clever, and the reason why they grew so fast was probably the low barrier to entry compared with other franchises.”
Source: Thanks smh.com