May 22, 2024
Who owns 24 Hour Fitness? This comprehensive guide explores the history, current ownership structure, and potential impacts of ownership changes on members and employees. Analyses of major stakeholders and their motivations are provided, along with potential benefits and drawbacks of the current ownership structure. Finally, we explore the potential impact of ownership on the company's future direction and priorities.


Do you ever wonder who owns 24 Hour Fitness? With frequent changes in ownership and a complex corporate structure, it’s not always easy to understand the hierarchy of decision-makers behind one of the biggest gym chains in the United States. In this article, we will explore the history of 24 Hour Fitness ownership, uncover the current ownership structure, and analyze how ownership affects gym-goers, investors, and employees.

The History and Ownership of 24 Hour Fitness: A Comprehensive Guide

24 Hour Fitness was founded in 1983 by Mark Mastrov, and was originally named 24 Hour Nautilus. The first club was located in San Leandro, California. The company gained popularity throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, thanks in part to its convenient 24-hour gym format.

Throughout its history, 24 Hour Fitness has undergone several ownership changes and business developments. In 1994, the company was sold to McCown De Leeuw & Co., a private equity firm. In 1999, they sold the company to Forstmann Little & Co., another private equity firm. Forstmann Little sold 24 Hour Fitness to New York-based investment firm Forstmann-Leff Associates in 2005, and then again to AEA Investors and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board in 2014. The company filed for bankruptcy in June 2020 amid pandemic-related closures, and was acquired by AEA Investors, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Gympass in September 2020.

Each ownership change has brought about changes to the company’s culture, management, and business strategy. With each sale, ownership has shifted from private equity firms to other investors and external stakeholders that influence the company’s direction.

From Founders to Investors: Discovering the Ownership of 24 Hour Fitness

The original founders of 24 Hour Fitness, Mark Mastrov and Leonard Schlemm, have remained involved in the company over the years. Mastrov served as chairman until 2014, and Schlemm remained as a consultant and board member until 2020.

However, ownership has since shifted to investors and other stakeholders. AEA Investors, a private equity firm specializing in middle-market investments, is currently a majority shareholder in the company. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, one of the largest pension funds in Canada, is also a minority stakeholder. Both companies have significant influence over 24 Hour Fitness’s business decisions and financial operations.

Behind the Scenes: Who Really Owns 24 Hour Fitness and How it Affects You

As a gym member or employee, you may not think about the ownership of 24 Hour Fitness on a daily basis. However, who owns the company can have a significant impact on policy decisions, customer service, and even pricing strategies.

For example, with private equity ownership, the company’s focus may shift towards maximizing profits rather than investing in gym equipment or amenities. The company may also be more likely to undergo changes in management or operational strategy. Additionally, the company may face pressure to increase membership prices and cut costs in order to maximize investor returns.

When a company like 24 Hour Fitness changes hands frequently, there may also be challenges in maintaining consistency in the company’s culture and values. Members and employees may feel uncertain about the company’s vision and priorities.

Furthermore, the bankruptcy of 24 Hour Fitness in 2020 has caused significant disruption for members and employees. Some gym-goers had to find new fitness centers when their local clubs closed, while others lost jobs due to the closures.

Breaking Down the Ownership Structure of 24 Hour Fitness

24 Hour Fitness has a complex ownership structure, with various subsidiary companies and stakeholders.

Currently, the owners of 24 Hour Fitness are AEA Investors, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, and Gympass. The company operates through a holding company, called 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, Inc. There are also several subsidiary companies, including 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc. and 24 Hour Fitness Colorado Clubs, LLC.

These subsidiary companies are responsible for operating local gym locations and managing day-to-day tasks.

The Power Players Behind 24 Hour Fitness: Analyzing the Owner’s Influence

With investors and pension funds as the primary shareholders in 24 Hour Fitness, these stakeholders have significant influence over the company’s operations and financial goals. They may pressure the company to increase profitability and make changes to its management team or operations in order to achieve these goals.

However, it’s important to note that not all stakeholders may agree on the best way to move the company forward. For example, some investors may prioritize short-term financial gains over long-term investments in the company’s facilities or employees. Others may prioritize sustainable growth and responsible corporate citizenship.

These potential conflicts of interest can lead to complex dynamics within the company’s ownership structure, which could ultimately impact the experience of members and employees at 24 Hour Fitness.

Who Benefits from 24 Hour Fitness’s Ownership Structure? A Deep Dive

While ownership changes may bring about challenges for members and employees, there are also potential benefits to the company’s structure.

Investors and stakeholders may bring new resources and expertise to the table, which could lead to improvements in gym equipment or facilities. Additionally, new ownership may lead to investments and growth opportunities that benefit members and employees, such as expansion into new markets or new services.

However, it’s important to recognize that different stakeholders may prioritize different goals, which could lead to unequal benefits for various groups. For example, if the company prioritizes short-term financial goals, membership prices may increase, making it less accessible for some members.

Understanding the Owners Behind 24 Hour Fitness and Their Vision for the Future

As gym-goers continue to seek clarity on the ownership of 24 Hour Fitness, it’s important to understand the backgrounds and motivations of the current owners.

In the case of AEA Investors and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, these companies have a track record of investing in middle-market companies with growth potential. Their focus may be on maximizing returns and expanding the company’s reach.

Gympass is a digital wellness platform that partners with over 2,000 gyms, including 24 Hour Fitness, to provide discounted gym memberships to corporate clients. Their investment in 24 Hour Fitness may be aimed at expanding their offerings and increasing their customer base.

It remains to be seen how these different owners will impact the future direction of 24 Hour Fitness.


Understanding who owns 24 Hour Fitness is more than just a matter of trivia. It can impact the experience of gym-goers and employees, and shape the company’s future direction and priorities. While the ownership structure of 24 Hour Fitness is complex and subject to change, it’s important for stakeholders to remain informed about who is making decisions and why. Only then can we ensure a healthy and sustainable future for one of the largest gym chains in the United States.

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