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David Lloyd health clubs may be sold back again

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26/03/2007

A number of potential buyers have approached leisure group Whitbread, which owns the Costa Coffee chain, expressing an interest in buying the David Lloyd health club chain.

Reports have appeared in the Sunday newspapers suggesting that Scott Lloyd, whose father David originally set up the business, wanted to buy the firm. David Lloyd sold it to Whitbread in 1995 for £200m.

The news came as no surprise to investment experts. “Whitbread has been selling off parts of its empire recently, getting rid of a 50% holding in Pizza Hut and the TGI Friday bars,” said City analyst Colin Perry.

“There are also takeover rumours surrounding Whitbread itself, which have pushed the share price higher to record levels.

“It still has Premier Travel Inns, and the Beefeater and Brewers Fayre pub and restaurant businesses, but it’s definitely been shedding parts of its operations.

“My assessment is that Whitbread will be bought but I don’t know which company will acquire it. The signs are all there, however.”

Scott Lloyd is believed to have the backing of wealthy property investors Ian and Richard Livingstone, who last year bought the Next Generation of health clubs set up by the Lloyd brothers after they had sold the David Lloyd group.

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