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.”
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.