Fitness | Kayla Itsines and Tobi Pearce buy back Sweat fitness empire
South Australian entrepreneurs Kayla Itsines and Tobi Pearce will once again lead the Sweat fitness empire they founded, after buying back the company they sold to US firm iFIT for hundreds of millions of dollars in 2021.
Itsines, who has been the face of the brand since she and Pearce founded the company in 2015, said on Tuesday the decision to take back control is about “ensuring the best future for Sweat”.
The price of the acquisition has not been disclosed.
Itsines will continue to serve as Sweat’s co-founder and head trainer following the acquisition, and Pearce will return to the business in an advisory capacity, according to The Australian. Chief executive Adam Koch will continue in his role.
Pearce is also the chief executive at online driving instructor marketplace EzLicence, which he co-founded in 2016.
The fast success of the women-focused Sweat brand, which grew out of the founders’ Bikini Body Guide fitness program, catapulted Itsines and Pearce onto the lists of Australia’s top entrepreneurs and most wealthy people, with iFIT scooping up the company in mid-2021.
While the sale price at the time was reported to be around US$300 million (around $403 million), financial documents filed by iFIT at the end of 2022 showed the sale was a maximum of US$150 million ($228 million).
However, the US owners booked a $80 million write-down in December 2022 for their first full year of ownership and attributed staff layoffs in 2022 to fluctuations in consumer demand and the return of gym-based workouts as Covid-19 restrictions ended.
In a statement on the buy-back on Tuesday, Itsines said the Sweat business has “come full circle” since the 2021 deal.
“I am thrilled to be back as an owner of Sweat, a platform that has meant so much to me and to the millions of women it serves,” she said, according to The Australian.
“The decision to regain ownership is about ensuring the best future for Sweat. We have always been a platform built for women, by women, providing a secure and encouraging space for them to share their transformation journeys. Our commitment to this community remains unwavering.”
The sale comes as Itsines is preparing to release her new book, Reboot with Kayla, at the end of January 2024, through Penguin Random House.
According to a press release from the publisher in October, Sweat now has more than 50 fitness programs and more than 13,000 workouts for women and is available in more than 145 countries and in eight languages.
More to come.
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