Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp. has called in The Blackstone Group to help it in its turnaround, said Bally Chairman and CEO Paul Toback. The Blackstone Group, a financial advisor and investment bank, will work with Bally on evaluating and refining its business plan and developing a long-term financial strategy to improve the company’s capital structure and maximize free cash flow, enabling Bally to focus its financial resources on its operations. Actions taken by the company may also include the possible divestiture of non-core assets.

“Our commitment to financial strength is a key element of the company’s turnaround plan. We recently closed a $275 million credit facility, including a $100 million revolving credit facility that is currently undrawn, and we have no debt maturities until 2007, making this the right time to proactively and strategically position the company for long-term financial strength and success,” said Toback. “Blackstone has unparalleled expertise in this area, and their addition to our team will be an asset to both me and the board of directors as we continue to review and consider all strategic opportunities for improving the company’s performance and enhancing shareholder value.”

As previously announced, Bally is in the process of implementing several financial and operational initiatives as part of management’s turnaround plan. Key elements of the plan include improving top-line sales growth, aggressive cost management, infusing a strong customer-service culture, and improving the overall capital structure of the business.