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By Entrepreneur Staff January 11, 2022

Planet Fitness announced an $800 million deal to acquire Sunshine Fitness, which operates more than 100 Planet Fitness clubs in the U.S. The cash-and-stock deal will result in Planet Fitness owning more than 200 corporate locations.

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Planet Fitness chief executive Chris Rondeau explained that the acquisition of Sunshine Fitness will help diversify its geographic footprint, particularly in the Southeast. In 2021, Planet Fitness opened 132 locations and saw an increase of 1.7 million members.

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“Owning corporate stores is an important part of our strategy, as it gives us both relevancy and credibility when making decisions that impact the entire system,” Rondeau told CNBC.

The fitness industry has been hit particularly hard during the pandemic. According to the Global Health Fitness Association, IHRSA, 22 percent of health clubs in the U.S. were forced to shutter between 2019 and 2021.

But Planet Fitness was able to stay open, stay relevant and thrive during the pandemic in part by quickly pivoting to streaming workouts on Facebook Live and partnering with the iFit workout app. Those efforts propelled Planet Fitness to its third annual top 10 finish on Entrepreneur magazine's Franchise 500.