SPAC Speculation Continues for Equinox
The company is still facing pandemic-related challenges.
Equinox Group has obtained $255 million from some of the gym chain’s lenders and owners, according to Wall Street Journal. The new financing for Equinox is meant to assist in a possible deal with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
Bank of America Corporation, Citigroup Inc., and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are three reported lenders who extended the new financing to Equinox. The privately-owned Equinox, which operates SoulCycle, Rumble, and Blink Fitness, was reportedly in recent talks for an IPO via a merger with Ares Acquisition Corporation.
Reports of a SPAC deal aren’t new for Equinox. Earlier this year, the company discussed a deal with Chamath Palihapitiya-backed SPAC, which would have potentially valued Equinox at $7.5 billion. A report from Sportico ventured that the luxury gym company was in talks with 12 other SPACs. The talk of a potential deal fizzled out.
Like many fitness facilities, the company faced some serious financial struggles during the pandemic. Equinox’s local New York market was especially hit hard when gym facilities were forced to close. Memberships were frozen and revenue was lost, leading to reports of locations owing back rent, and landlord-led legal disputes were filed. Even with gyms reopening, Equinox has struggled with memberships, unlike competitor Planet Fitness, which reported strong third-quarter earnings. Planet Fitness CFO Tom Fitzgerald said that the fitness franchise rebounded faster than predicted and membership returned to pre-pandemic levels, with 40% joining as first-time Planet Fitness members.
Despite pandemic woes, Equinox took a strong stand and announced that it would enact vaccination mandates in all of its locations. The company conducted a survey which revealed that 96% of its members and 89% of employees were vaccinated against Covid-19. In a press release announcing the decision, Harvey Spevak, Equinox Group Executive Chairman and Managing Partner, said, “We have always made the health and safety of our communities our top priority, and we will continue to do so in partnership with infectious disease experts as well as local governments. We have a responsibility to take bold action and respond to changing circumstances with urgency. We encourage other leading brands to join us in this effort to best protect our communities.”
Equinox was supposed to open a location in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall, but plans reportedly fell through for unknown reasons. Instead, Life Time Fitness will be opening a 40,000 square foot, three-level fitness facility.
The company made moves to create content for its members. This summer, Equinox launched the Equinox+ app, offering seamless access to physical and digital programming with unlimited in-club and on-demand access, personalized scheduling, live classes, activity tracking, and more.
Courtney Rehfeldt has worked in the broadcasting media industry since 2007 and has freelanced since 2012. Her work has been featured in Age of Awareness, Times Beacon Record, The New York Times, and she has an upcoming piece in Slate. She studied yoga & meditation under Beryl Bender Birch at The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute. She enjoys hiking, being outdoors, and is an avid reader. Courtney has a BA in Media & Communications studies.