Two gym operators have abandoned a £300m merger after their proposed tie-up was stalled by an in-depth competition probe.
Pure Gym and The Gym Group wanted to create a new low-cost player with more than 100 sites but have ditched the move because the full investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority will last until next year.
The pair said the decision to refer the deal for a longer inquiry was unjustified, adding that the delay would have a detrimental impact on their businesses.
Pure Gym, which launched in 2009, operates 68 24-hour gyms across the UK – including one in Belfast's St Anne's Square.
It plans to open another two in the city.
Members pay monthly with no contract commitment. Funds affiliated with CCMP Capital Advisors bought a majority stake in the business last year.
The Gym Group was founded in 2007 and operates 42 sites across Britain. It also operates a low-cost business model with contract-free membership. Phoenix Equity Partners bought a majority stake last year.