BIV exclusive: Steve Nash Fitness co-founder part of potential takeover

The company’s co-founder and current CEO are involved in the proposed purchase of Steve Nash Fitness

Steve Nash Fitness locations will be rebranded as Fitness World facilities | Hayley Woodin

What happened: The successful bid to takeover Steve Nash Fitness includes the company’s co-founder and CEO, according to court documents obtained by BIV.

Why it matters: The company’s months-long insolvency and sales process has allowed existing ownership and management to restructure Steve Nash Fitness – which owes millions to creditors – while under creditor protection.

Steve Nash Fitness World and Sports Clubs may have a new name, but familiar names could be part of the company's future.

According to court documents obtained by BIV, FW Fitness BC Ltd. submitted the best offer to purchase SNFW Fitness B.C. Ltd., which operated more than two-dozen fitness locations under Steve Nash Fitness, Crunch Fitness and UFC Gyms brands pre-pandemic.

FW Fitness BC was incorporated 12 days ago and lists as its two directors Chris Smith, CEO of SNFW Fitness, and Mark Mastrov, who co-founded the company and served as a director on its board until March 27 – days before the company sought creditor protection, owing in excess of $35 million.

Including funds owed to members who prepaid for memberships and personal training sessions, unpaid rent owed to landlords and pay owed to former employees, the company owes upwards of an estimated $44 million.

The new company has offered to purchase all assets of SNFW Fitness for $9 million, and has agreed to retain or re-hire at least 65% of SNFW Fitness employees and former employees.

The offer requires court approval and has not yet been approved by the BC Supreme Court.

According to court documents, SNFW Fitness’s largest creditor – the Bank of Montreal – supports the purchase offer.

The Bowra Group Inc. – appointed under federal insolvency legislation as the matter’s trustee – told BIV earlier this year that multiple bids for the fitness operator had been received.

The trustee’s second report to court confirms that three offers were received, but “evaluated and found to be unacceptable as presented.” The parties, along with a fourth party that had requested additional time, were asked to submit or re-submit their bids.

It is unclear whether FW Fitness BC was among the first three bidders, or was the fourth bidder that had not submitted a bid by the initial deadline.

The proposal is expected to be heard by the BC Supreme Court in the days ahead.

Moving forward, clubs formerly under the Steve Nash Fitness brand are expected to re-open as Fitness World locations.

At least three locations – in Yaletown, Brentwood and Richmond – will not re-open.

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hwoodin@biv.com

@hayleywoodin