Steve Nash Fitness announces acquisition, re-opening strategy

What happened: Steve Nash Fitness World announced Tuesday that a group of investors has acquired the rights to Steve Nash Fitness World & Sports Clubs.

Why it matters: The announcement precedes BC Supreme Court approval of the sale, but commits to re-opening clubs as quickly and safely as possible under COVID-19 protocols.

Steve Nash Fitness today announced that a group of investors has acquired the rights to Steve Nash Fitness World & Sports Clubs. 

Company CEO Chris Smith, who will remain CEO, said in a news release the new ownership team has committed re-opening clubs as quickly and safely as possible. Company management says it will honour all existing service agreements, including prepaid memberships and personal training services.

Business in Vancouver reported earlier today that the value of existing prepaid memberships and personal training services is worth millions of dollars.

More information regarding the chain's re-opening strategy will be communicated in the coming weeks, according to the company.

"We have plans to rebrand the clubs and create incredible value for the communities that we serve," Smith stated in a news release. All locations operated by the chain's parent company – SNFW Fitness B.C. Ltd. – have been closed since mid-March.

The identity of the new ownership team has not been publicly announced, but has extensive experience in the fitness industry, according to The Bowra Group, which was appointed as the proposal trustee in the insolvency proceedings of SNFW Fitness.

Under those proceedings, all legal actions against the company – which owes more than $44 million to creditors – are stayed. SNFW Fitness filed a notice of intention to file a proposal to creditors on April 3. After an initial deadline extension, the company was to submit that proposal by end-of-day June 17. On Wednesday, the company will ask the BC Supreme Court to extend its deadline for filing a proposal by a month and a half. If the company does not file a proposal by deadline, is is deemed bankrupt under federal bankruptcy and insolvency legislation. 

During this process, the BC Supreme Court also approved plans by SNFW Fitness and its trustee to attempt to sell the company.

According to court documents obtained by BIV, three companies initially submitted bids as part of the court-approved sales process.

After evaluating the bids, SNFW Fitness, The Bowra Group and MNP Corporate Finance determined none of the three bids were acceptable. All potential bidders were given the opportunity to withdraw or re-submit bids.

Four re-submitted bids were received by May 28, and the successful bidder was notified on June 8.

Court documents indicate that the buyer is in the process of setting up a new corporate structure. It is anticipated that approximately 65% of former SNFW Fitness's 1,300 former employees will be offered employment, depending upon locations that can be re-opened, according to a notice of application filed by SNFW Fitness.

The sale of the company has not yet been approved by BC Supreme Court.