Berlin's RSG Group Bids $100M for Gold's Gym
Adam Zeitsiff, CEO of Gold's Gym, poses in one of his clubs in Dallas on June 11. He and all staff members are required to wear masks while inside.
With the slogan “Die Fitnesshalle fur Alle” and a banana for a mascot, Rainer Schaller opened his first McFit gym in 1997 in Wurzburg, Germany. Now his company, Berlin-based RSG Group, has placed the winning bid for Gold’s Gym.
If approved by the U.S. bankruptcy court, RSG will pay $100 million for Gold's, with 61 company-owned gyms and more than 600 franchisee-owned units.
TRT Holdings, a Texas-based private company that also owns Omni Hotels, is the current owner, run by Robert Rowling, whose family's oil and gas company was sold to Texaco in the late 1980s. TRT bought Gold's for $158 million in 2004.
In July 2018, TRT said it was exploring a possible sale of the company, but then reversed its decision in February 2019, saying it would instead reinvest in the brand and bringing back its chief information officer, Adam Zeitsiff, as CEO.
Gold's creditors include JPMorgan Chase Bank, Bank of America and Wells Fargo Bank.
"Gold's Gym is a fitness institution that had a major influence on the industry's development," Schaller said in a statement. "It was a huge source of inspiration when I was setting up my first McFit studio in Wurzburg, Germany," whose slogan is English means fitness for all. "I'm incredibly proud that, in partnership with their current leadership team, we will be able to breathe life into this iconic brand under the umbrella of the RSG Group."
In an interview in June, Zeitsiff told Franchise Times he had never been through a Chapter 11 process before but vowed to emerge from the process by the end of July. "It's a challenge. We weren't going to need to do this except for COVID. We wanted to guarantee the longevity of the brand.
"This was a preemptive strike," he said about filing on May 4, after shutting all gyms March 16 because of the pandemic. "It scared the bleep out of me, not only COVID but the restructuring. It's scary when you're at the helm of a brand."