Jan 9, 2013 Stuart Goldman, Executive Editor | Club Industry

PFC Management LLC, a Connecticut-based Planet Fitness franchisee, has been sold to private equity firm Exaltare Capital Partners LLC, Boston, and private investment firm Brightwood Capital Advisors LLC, New York.

PFC Management operates 15 clubs throughout Connecticut. The group is owned by Joe Pepe Sr., Ron Pepe and Chuck Esposito, who have operated the clubs since 1983, first as World Gym and later as Planet Fitness beginning in 2003.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Pepes and Esposito will continue to be equity owners in the company, and the existing senior management team will continue to oversee the daily operations. Ron Pepe and Joe Pepe Jr., the nephew and son of Joe Pepe Sr., will serve as president and vice president of operations, respectively.

“It will allow us the necessary capital to make improvements to some of our older locations, possibly relocate into some new space and expand into new locations around Connecticut, much quicker than we would have been able to on our own,” Pepe Jr. told The Register Citizen, Torrington, CT. He also told the Connecticut Post that as a “mom-and-pop operation,” it would have been difficult to invest in the older clubs and expand simply by asking a bank for loans.

In addition to the 15 locations, Exaltare also has purchased an area development agreement from the corporate Planet Fitness office in Newington, NH, for the rights to open clubs in all unoccupied territories throughout Connecticut.

“We’re confident about the future of this strong franchise and feel that Planet Fitness has done a great job of creating a high-value fitness club offering to the value-oriented consumer,” Exaltare Managing Partner Omar Simmons said in a statement.

Modern Bank provided a portion of the financing to complete the transaction and will be the administrative agent for the credit facilities.

PFC Management has 150 employees and will continue to be headquartered in Orange, CT.

Last November, Planet Fitness CEO Mike Grondahl confirmed a deal with San Francisco-based private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners, which now lists Planet Fitness among its portfolio companies on its website.