Spaticchia back at the helm of énergie after MBO success

22 June 2020 (Milton Keynes): The board of énergie Fitness has today (22 June), confirmed that a successful management buy-out of the business has been led by Jan Spaticchia, with the backing of ten private investors and RM Funds, the company’s existing secured lender.

A number of energie’s original founder-shareholders, such as Steve Philpott, David Beattie and the Ashley family, have invested in the new business, alongside Spaticchia.

Spaticchia founded énergie in 2003, before going on to sell it in August 2019. The opportunity for a buyback came in May this year.

At the time, the directors of énergie brought in specialist, FRP Advisory, to look at options for recapitalising the company, with one potential way forward being a sale.

The business was marketed and attracted a number of interested parties – a mixture of private equity and trade entities. The MBO, led by Spaticchia, was named as the winning bid.

The sale process has been proceeding over the last three weeks.

A new company has been formed to acquire the business, trade and assets of the énergie Group and the successful MBO team is putting in place a significantly strengthened executive and a new corporate structure.

Spaticchia will work as executive chair, while énergie veterans, Peter Croney and Fintan Donohue will take up board positions, along with Steve Philpott and Pietro Nicholls, who is principal portfolio manager at RM Funds.

They are joined by an executive team, including Eve Gonsalves and John Jempson, along with former CEO, Neil King, who takes up the role of MD of a new UK operating subsidiary.

Spaticchia will also continue to act as vice-chair at BMF, the outdoor fitness franchise specialist, which is part-owned by Bear Grylls and backed by Chris St George and NM Capital.

The company has outlined ambitions for international growth, establishing énergie International Licensing as a subsidiary to spearhead global expansion.

Commenting on the deal, Spaticchia said: “The énergie community has an authentic commitment to transforming the fitness and wellbeing of its members.

“With today’s vital focus on health, it’s an honour to be able to play a part in enabling the company to contribute to the national recovery from COVID-19.

“We’ll be working together as a team to ensure énergie continues to deliver its very special brand of fitness to the benefit of everyone in its community.”

Commenting on the deal, Nicholls said: “We are very pleased to continue to support énergie under Jan Spaticchia and the original management team as the new owners.

“We have a strong belief in the énergie model and in the team’s ability to continue to grow the brand and its network of passionate local owners.”

Steve Philpott, director and co-founder of the original énergie business, has stepped back in to invest in the MBO, saying: “Jan Spaticchia built énergie from the ground up and has been one of the fitness industry’s most resilient and successful entrepreneurs.”

“This MBO will see him back in charge of the company he created, at a time when the UK fitness industry is most in need of passionate and committed leadership.”

The énergie portfolio includes 105 clubs with 143,000 members and has 85 franchisees. Annual network turnover pre-COVID-19 was £33m.