Minnesota fitness giant Life Time will return to stock market with an IPO

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Life Time, the Chanhassen-based operator of upscale health clubs that went private in a 2015 buyout by its founder, is going to become a publicly traded company again.

Life Time Group Holdings Inc. filed an S1 document with securities regulators on Monday for an initial public offering.

The filing didn’t indicate how many shares were to be sold or at what price but did indicate that Life Time will be considered a “controlled company” after the offering, meaning that existing shareholders will own more than 50% of outstanding shares.

The filing didn’t specify how much money the company aims to raise. According to the filing fee it paid, Life Time could be seeking approximately $100 million. The date of the listing will depend on market conditions and could be weeks or months away.

Company founder and chief executive Bahram Akradi took the company private in 2015 in a $4 billion deal that also involved private-equity firms Leonard Green & Partners, TPG and LNK Partners. Akradi and those firms would remain the major shareholders after the IPO.

A Life Time representative declined to comment on the filing, citing regulators’ restrictions.

When the company went private, it had approximately 114 fitness centers and annual revenue of $1.3 billion. Since then, it increased the number of fitness centers to more than 150 in 29 states and Canada.

Revenue increased to $1.9 billion in 2019, but it fell sharply last year to $948 million due to closures to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The pandemic did not stop the company from opening new fitness centers. From the end of 2019 through August 2021, it opened nine, including seven after the onset of the pandemic in early 2020.

Akradi founded Life Time in 1992 and it went public the first time in March 2004 in an offering that raised $183 million. Proceeds from the new IPO would be used to repay long-term debt.

Life Time shares were previously traded under the LTM symbol. But the company will return to the market under the symbol LTH.

After Akradi worked in cramped, crowded and sweat-stained gyms, he developed Life Time’s fitness outlets to be a premium destination, open to the whole family, typically with child-care services and dining options.

In a founder’s letter in Monday’s filing, Akradi highlighted the company’s culture and its “Healthy Way of Life” brand.

If Life Time completes the IPO this year, it would be the sixth Minnesota-based company to go public in 2021. Those companies — Bright Health Group Inc., Agiliti Health Inc., Sun Country Airlines, SkyWater Technology Inc. and Miromatrix Medical Inc. — are part of a broader rush to tap equity markets that are trading near record highs and remain flush with capital.

There have been nearly 300 IPOs in the U.S. this year, beating last year’s volume of 218 and closing in on a level unseen since the dot-com boom of the late 1990s.