3 February 2020
The international commercial law firm Taylor Wessing, under the leadership of the Düsseldorf partner Ernst-Albrecht von Beauvais, has provided legal advice to Afinum Management GmbH and its long-standing managing partner, Leo Eckstein, on the sale of their shares in Meridian Spa & Fitness Deutschland GmbH to the David Lloyd Leisure Group.
At the end of 2014, - even then with the support of Taylor Wessing - AF Eigenkapitalfonds für deutschen Mittelstand GmbH & Co. KG, which was advised by Afinum Management GmbH, joined the Meridian Group with the aim of strengthening the equity base of the company in order to expand its position as the German market leader in the premium club segment and to accompany the generational change in the shareholder structure. The growth capital that was provided was then used to finance two further investments. After five years in which both sales and earnings have increased significantly, Afinum and CEO Eckstein are selling their shares - at a time when, according to the investor, the company's business results are the best in its 35-year history. For the current year, a turnover of 40 million euros is targeted.
The Meridian Group, with its headquarters in Hamburg, operates a total of eight wellness facilities in the upper price segment with around 500 employees and currently has around 39,000 members. With five locations, the chain's main focus is in Hamburg, but it is also represented in Kiel, Berlin and Frankfurt. Buyer DLL intends to invest more than 20 million euros in the facilities in order to further raise the already high level.
The acquisition of the Meridian Group is part of DLL's expansion strategy to further establish itself in Germany and other European countries. To date, the company has been represented in Germany since 2018 under the David Leisure Clubs brand with one facility in Bad Homburg. The British group is Europe's largest operator of premium leisure, fitness and tennis clubs and is owned by investment funds managed by TDR Capital LLP.
Afinum is an independent investment company specialising in investments in successful medium-sized companies in German-speaking Europe. The company, headquartered in Munich, has been active in the private equity market since 2000. Afinum also runs offices in Zurich and Hong Kong.
The David Lloyd Leisure Group, including the Meridian Group, operates a total of 123 clubs, 100 of which are in England and 23 in other European countries, with a total of over 660,000 members.
TDR Capital LLP is a leading European private equity firm managing funds with committed capital of 10 billin euros. The investment company invests primarily in European medium-sized companies.
Legal advisors Afinum Management GmbH and Leo Eckstein
Taylor Wessing: Lead Dr. Ernst-Albrecht von Beauvais (Partner), Dr. Kathrin Monen (Partner), Sonja Leutnant (Salary Partner), Daniel Mursa (Associate), Dr. Dennis Häger (Associate), all M&A, Johannes Simon (Salary Partner), Dr. Tim Eickmanns (Associate) both Employment, Pensions & Mobility, Dr. Daniel Graske (Senior Associate, Commercial Real Estate, Hamburg), all Düsseldorf if not stated otherwise