Part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Virgin Active operates health clubs in Britain, Italy, Portugal, Spain and South Africa. In April, it almost doubled its UK presence when it acquired rival Esporta’s 55 gym and racquet clubs in a £77.5m deal. Esporta had suffered in the downturn, falling into administration in 2007 and being taken over by its lender Société Générale in 2009. Led by chief executive Matthew Bucknall, Virgin Active’s sales reached £445.2m in 2010. In August CVC Capital Partners acquired a controlling stake in the health club operator; valuing the company at £900m.
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