Virgin Active sets its sights on Spain and Portugal

England was never able to successfully conquer the Iberian Peninsula during its reign as the world’s superpower.  Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin Active brand, is setting out to right this by attempting a massive expansion into the Spanish/Portuguese health club industry.

“The UK’s top two fitness chains, Fitness First and Virgin Active, are set to take their battle for supremacy to Spain.

Both companies are believed to be sizing up offers for Holmes Place gyms in Spain and Portugal, where they are being auctioned for up to €200m (£140m).

The bid battle comes just over a year after Virgin Active bought Holmes Place to vault to the No 2 position, behind Fitness First. The latter, which already has a significant presence in Spain, is keen to expand abroad with the backing of its deep-pocketed owner, buyout firm BC Partners.”

(Click here for the rest of the article) 

If Virgin succeeds, it would be interesting to see just how well this “in your face” brand can integrate with the higher end Holmes Place.  Generally, whether the acquired or the acquiring, the lower end brand culture usually drags the higher end brand down.  Most people who have frequented London’s Holmes Place prior to the Virgin Active purchase would probably agree.

3 Responses to Virgin Active sets its sights on Spain and Portugal

  1. […] Richard Branson says Portugal could be an ideal venue to build a “spaceport”. The founder of Virgin Atlantic said he was considering the idea of a Portuguese space center. Branson revealed his intention to invest in renewable energies in Portugal, and said he was building up to 20 new health clubs in the country, creating over a thousand new jobs. The investment news was announced by Branson at a press conference where he said that discussions have already taken place with national authorities with a view to building a space centre. The centre would be similar to the one currently under construction in New Mexico in the United States, from where the first space journeys will be launched. To date, five Portuguese nationals have purchased a ticket to fly to space on a Virgin Galactic flight. Tickets are being sold at $200,000 a passenger, with take-off scheduled for sometime between the end of 2010 and 2011. Following the Lisbon press conference, Branson visited Porto for  the opening of the travel agency Caminho das Estrelas, which has the exclusive rights in Portugal to sell Virgin Galactic products. He also announced that a network numbering 15 to 20 health clubs is to be created in Portugal. Investing an estimated eight million euros in each venue, most of the next Virgin Active health clubs will be built in the Greater Lisbon and Porto areas. Branson concluded by expressing his intention to also invest in renewable energies, announcing a 50,000-euro prize for innovative environmental-friendly projects created in Portugal. […]

  2. I thought that was a great post. I think I’ll create a blog post and link to it.

  3. PaperCraft says:


    […]Virgin Active sets its sights on Spain and Portugal « Feed the Fiend![…]…

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