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F45, David Beckham Resolve Lawsuit, Preserve Investment Deal

F45, David Beckham Resolve Lawsuit, Preserve Investment Deal

The soccer icon’s VC firm will remain an investor in F45 Training after Beckham and the boutique fitness brand settled a dispute over compensation from a sponsorship deal

F45 Training and David Beckham are moving forward, having reached an agreement that will see Beckham’s venture capital firm DB Ventures Limited drop its lawsuit against the boutique fitness brand over a soured sponsorship deal.

DB Ventures Limited will remain an investor in the fitness franchise, the sides said.

“For a long time, F45 has been – and continues to be – a supporter of Beckham, as he has been for our brand, and (we’re) pleased to have reached a mutual business decision to resolve the matter,” F45 CEO Tom Dowd said.

Beckham had been introduced to F45 by actor Mark Wahlberg, who has been an investor in the brand since 2019. and currently serves as its chief brand officer. The former soccer star then became an F45 ambassador in 2020 in a partnership to drive marketing initiatives

The deal went south after Beckham alleged that F45 failed to transfer shares of stock as agreed in a timely fashion and that the delay (and subsequent F45 stock price descent in 2022) resulted in him losing millions by the time they were issued. He also alleged that F45 failed to issue $5 million worth of additional shares. 

While Beckham filed a suit in 2022 jointly with pro golfer Greg Norman, a judge ordered the pro athletes to file separately. Beckham then filed a new suit in 2023, seeking $14 million in damages. 

David Beckham first partnered with F45 in 2020 (credit: F45 Training)

A New Era for F45

Dowd, who joined as F45’s CEO last March, has made it a mission to restore the fitness franchise to its glory days. It’s come with some tough decisions, including voluntarily delisting from the New York Stock Exchange in an effort to focus on long-term growth rather than short-term financial results.

During an episode of Athletech News’ Unscripted podcast, Dowd discussed his vision for the fitness brand, including his hopes of it becoming a lifestyle brand with retail components.

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“You’re hard-pressed to find a double-digit growth category like health and wellness,” he said. “So how do we monetize that? How do we plug in and find more ways to engage with new and different consumers who maybe never would have thought about coming to a studio to work out?”

F45 has launched affiliate brands in the Pilates and yoga spaces in Vaura Pilates and FS8. The brand is also intent on becoming more accessible to all fitness consumers under Dowd — an approach that impressed Noah Galloway, a U.S. Army combat veteran who lost an arm and a leg while serving in the Iraq War and signed on as an F45 training athlete

Wahlberg, F45’s most famous face, has deepened his ties with the fitness brand. Earlier this year, the actor and investor partnered with Club Sports Group to open F45 franchise locations in the Boston area.

F45 also recently signed a two-year deal with Hyrox making it the fitness racing brand’s official partner. The deal includes Hyrox-branded workouts being available at participating F45 studios.

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