Imagine Spa secures funding for growth
The Imagine Spa and Fitness Express chain is poised for growth following investment from venture capitalist group Downing Corporate Finance. Downing has taken a 30% share in the business as part of a plan to fund its acquisition of more spa and gym sites. Imagine, which has eight spas across the UK, was launched by Courteen in 2007 as an affordable spa model with the philosophy of selling time rather than pre-decided treatments. Following the investment, the business will be operated under a newly formed holding company called Mosaic Spas and Health Clubs. Directors Steve Taylor, Oliver Wright and Dave Courteen have each slightly increased their share in the business too. Paul Beaumont of Downing will become a director of Mosaic as part of the deal. Imagine Spa managing director Dave Courteen said: 'Over the last five years we have grown our spa business and have numerous opportunities for further growth, which requires us to inject some capital into the potential developments. We have spent the last year looking for partners to help us with funding.' The deal sees the exit of six shareholders who invested in the business when Taylor and Courteen, the original founders, reacquired it from Crown Sports in 2004. Courteen added: 'It is great that this deal represents a good return in the current climate for the departing shareholders.They have provided us with loyal support over the last seven years but theyfelt it was time for them to get a return on their investment and allow us to getthe new funding we needed.' As well as securing more management contracts andjoint ventures with hotel partners, the Mosaic business is also looking to acquire freehold sites to roll out the Fitness Express and Imagine Spa brand. Beaumont said: 'Downing has a history of backing strong management teams and we are excited to be involved with this business. We have spent some time looking at the way they operate and have been attracted by the enthusiasm, commitment and professionalism of the people within the business. We are very confident that we can provide the financial support to take thebusiness to the next level.' Mosaic said it is close to announcing the first of its joint ventures with hotel partners in East Anglia.