The Competition Tribunal has approved the merger between fitness club chain Virgin Active and Kauai’s parent company Real Foods Group. The R581m merger includes Nu Health Café, Kauai Juice and Kauai Smart Meals. 

Upon implementation, Virgin Active will combine the Real Foods Group nutrition assets to create a wellness group. 

Real Foods Group has successfully been operating its store-within-a-store concept throughout Virgin Active’s sites in South Africa for 18 years, in addition to its standalone and franchised sites.

“The Tribunal has concluded that the proposed transaction is unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in any relevant market in South Africa. Furthermore, the proposed transaction raises no public interest concerns,” the Competition Tribunal stated. 

“After implementation of the Real Foods acquisition, Virgin Active and Real Foods will operate with a shared vision, under the guidance of a single leadership group, which will help create opportunities and commercial efficiencies to build a broader well-being offering,” the companies said in a statement in early March. 

“It will enable the group to align fitness and nutrition around a single goal and provide shared data and personalised nutrition in concert with curated, accessible exercise programmes.”

Last month, Virgin Active appointed Jessica Spira as its new managing director effective from 1 October 2022. 

“With Jessica as MD and a strong team, Virgin Active South Africa will be able to capitalise on the fast-growing health, wellness and fitness market, and will enable Virgin Active to deliver new and innovative experiences to the South African consumer,” commented Kowarski, CEO of Virgin Active globally (former CEO of Real Foods Group).

“Leadership in the gym industry has been dominated by males so the appointment of Jessica will bring a fresh perspective.”