Bally Total Fitness Retains The Blackstone Group as Financial Advisor to Assist with Turnaround Strategy
CHICAGO, February 3, 2005 – Chairman and CEO Paul Toback of Bally Total Fitness Holding Corporation (NYSE: BFT) today announced that the Company has retained The Blackstone Group, a leading financial advisor and investment bank, to assist in its turnaround strategy. Blackstone will work with the Company on evaluating and refining its business plan and developing a long-term financial strategy to improve the Company’s capital structure and maximize free cash flow, enabling Bally to focus its financial resources on its operations. Actions taken by the Company may also include the possible divestiture of non-core assets.
“Our commitment to financial strength is a key element of the Company’s turnaround plan. We recently closed a $275 million credit facility, including a $100 million revolving credit facility that is currently undrawn, and we have no debt maturities until 2007, making this the right time to proactively and strategically position the Company for long-term financial strength and success,” said Toback. “Blackstone has unparalleled expertise in this area, and their addition to our team will be an asset to both me and the Board of Directors as we continue to review and consider all strategic opportunities for improving the Company’s performance and enhancing shareholder value.”
As previously announced, the Company is in the process of implementing several financial and operational initiatives as part of management’s turnaround plan. Key elements of the plan include improving top-line sales growth, aggressive cost management, infusing a strong customer-service culture, and improving the overall capital structure of the business.
About Bally Total Fitness
Bally Total Fitness is the largest and only nationwide commercial operator of fitness centers, with approximately four million members and nearly 440 facilities located in 29 states, Mexico, Canada, Korea, China and the Caribbean under the Bally Total Fitness(R), Crunch Fitness(SM), Gorilla Sports(SM), Pinnacle Fitness(R), Bally Sports Clubs(R) and Sports Clubs of Canada(R) brands. With an estimated 150 million annual visits to its clubs, Bally offers a unique platform for distribution of a wide range of products and services targeted to active, fitness-conscious adult consumers.
About The Blackstone Group
The Blackstone Group, a private investment and advisory firm with offices in New York, Atlanta, Boston, London, Hamburg, and Paris, was founded in 1985. Blackstone’s Restructuring and Reorganization Advisory Group, a market leader in its field, has advised companies and creditors in more than 150 distressed situations involving some $315 billion of total liabilities. In addition to restructuring, The Blackstone Group’s core businesses include Corporate Advisory, Private Equity Investing, Private Real Estate Investing, Corporate Debt Investing, and Marketable Alternative Asset Management. www.blackstone.com
Forward-looking statements in this release including, without limitation, statements relating to the Company’s plans, strategies, objectives, expectations, intentions, and adequacy of resources, are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors include, among others, the following: the outcome of the SEC investigation and Bally’s internal investigation, including review and restatement of its previously announced or filed financial results; the audit of the restated financial statements; the identification of one or more other issues that require restatement of one or more prior period financial statements; the communication by Bally’s management and independent auditors of the existence of material weaknesses in internal controls over financial reporting; general economic and business conditions; competition; success of operating initiatives, advertising and promotional efforts; existence of adverse publicity or litigation; acceptance of new product and service offerings; changes in business strategy or plans; quality of management; availability, terms, and development of capital; business abilities and judgment of personnel; changes in, or the failure to comply with, government regulations; regional weather conditions and other factors described in prior filings of the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.