Australian fitness chain F45 Training files for US listing

F45 Training US IPO Mark Wahlberg listing Australia
Actor Mark Wahlberg bought a minority stake in F45 last year in a deal valuing the company at around A$654.52 million.

Fitness company F45 Training, co-founded by Australians Rob Deutsch and Adam Gilchrist (not the cricketer) and now backed by Hollywood A-lister Mark Wahlberg, has reportedly filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the US.

US investment banks Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan are working on the listing with final completion in the first half of this year currently pencilled in.

Despite the widespread news being reported by several outlets, F45 hasn’t made a final decision on its listing and could still change its plans in the coming weeks.

A US listing is expected to provide F45 with access to a plentiful supply of investor capital and possibly most importantly, to launch the company’s brand onto the world stage.

Another key consideration is to help franchisees accelerate same-store sales growth with classes already being offered via more than 1,500 studios in 40 different countries, including US colleges such as Stanford University and the University of Southern California.

According to market analysts, there is even speculation that F45 intends to offer its workout classes to US military personnel which could prove to be a marketing masterstroke given the novelty of the move.

In 2017, F45 was dubbed as being “the fastest-growing franchise you’ve never heard of” as the company amassed a growing list of celebrity clients that spread word of the F45’s quirky approach to physical fitness training.

The likes of US actors Mario Lopez and Mark Wahlberg, basketball stars Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler, former NFL player Calvin Johnson, and NHL superstar Max Domi have all embraced F45’s mix of workout classes and technology including “high-five heavy functional high-intensity interval and circuit training”.

Working out

F45 describes itself as a “global fitness community” specialising in innovative, high-intensity group workouts that are fast, enjoyable and results-driven. The core principle behind the brand is to unite the basics of high-intensity interval, circuit and functional training.

The sessions also feature wireless heart rate monitors branded as “LionHeart” by F45 and linked to in-studio television displays that can record footage and make it shareable to a wider audience.

Tapping into the popularity of social media has allowed F45 to quickly grow its operations and amass a large health-conscious customer base that identifies with the premises of training, physical aesthetics and online popularity.

According to F45, it has signed as many as 100 new franchisees in the past month and is generating strong revenue growth going into its maiden listing in the US.

The venture works on a franchisee model with fees of up to US$50,000 being paid by franchisee studios that use the brand to attract repeat customers.

F45 claims total initial investment range for each participant is US$220,000-$299,000.

Actor Mark Wahlberg bought a minority stake in the fitness company in March last year with the company already valued at around US$450 million (A$654 million), according to market research vendor Bloomberg.