For most of the year, the industry heard rumblings of a major deal about to occur. In April, LA Fitness, Irvine, CA, reportedly sought to acquire Urban Active, Lexington, KY, but the deal fell through.

The deal/non-deal of the summer was Gold’s Gym International, Irving, TX, pursuing Bally Total Fitness, Chicago. Executives from both companies met in August as Gold’s proceeded with its due diligence, but those talks cooled. Bally did not have to wait long for a new suitor. In November, LA Fitness acquired 171 clubs from Bally for $153 million in the biggest deal of the year.

The first major deal that was finalized in 2011 was Equinox, New York, acquiring the four clubs owned and operated by the Sports Club Co., Los Angeles. The sale, worth a reported $130 million, was announced in August and was finalized in October. Earlier in the year, Equinox acquired SoulCycle, an independent indoor cycling and lifestyle boutique, with plans to expand from eight to 40 locations.

Also in November, Life Time Fitness, Chanhassen, MN, initially acquired four clubs from Lifestyle Family Fitness, St. Petersburg, FL, in a deal that could involve up to nine clubs.