LA Fitness pumps up with acquisition of Bally health clubs

LA Fitness, one of the largest gym chains in the country, has become an even more dominant player in the health club industry.

The Irvine company last week took over 171 Bally Total Fitness locations in 16 states, including about 40 in Southern California, marking one of the biggest deals by a gym chain in recent years.

The $153-million purchase, which gives LA Fitness more than 500 locations nationwide, is a smart move, experts said.

LA Fitness picked up tens of thousands of members in prime markets. And with the labor market improving in California and nationwide, the chain is betting that it can attract consumers who might have canceled their memberships during the recession back to the gym, analysts said.

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-- Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times

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