Yoga firm extends reach

Yo­gaWorks of Santa Mon­ica buys Bay Area com­pany Yoga Tree in a cash deal.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - By Sa­man­tha Ma­sunaga sa­man­tha.ma­sunaga@la­times.com Twit­ter: @sma­sunaga

Two of the old­est yoga chains in Cal­i­for­nia are bent on com­bin­ing.

Yoga Tree, a small San Fran­cisco Bay Area chain, has been ac­quired by grow­ing Santa Mon­ica com­pany Yo­gaWorks.

The deal in­creases Yo­gaWorks’ reach into the lu­cra­tive Bay Area mar­ket, said Phil Swain, the com­pany’s chief ex­ec­u­tive.

“We’re very ex­cited about the Bay Area,” Swain said. “It’s a very strong com­mu­nity.”

The deal at­tempts to cap­i­tal­ize on yoga’s grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity.

The U.S. yoga in­dus­try has grown over the last five years, with more than 26,000 busi­nesses across the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to mar­ket re­search firm IBIS World. Al­most 10% of adults prac­ticed yoga in 2012, up from 6.1% in 2007, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey by the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health.

The two yoga brands have much in com­mon, Swain said, in­clud­ing sim­i­lar philoso­phies on yoga and train­ing.

Yoga Tree was es­tab­lished in 1999 and owns nine stu­dios in San Fran­cisco, Berke­ley and Marin County.

Yo­gaWorks op­er­ates 38 lo­ca­tions in Cal­i­for­nia and New York, though most of its stu­dios are con­cen­trated in Los An­ge­les and Or­ange coun­ties. The 28-year-old com­pany also has on­line classes through MyYo­gaWorks and a teacher train­ing pro­gram.

Yo­gaWorks is owned by Great Hill Part­ners, a Bos­ton pri­vate eq­uity firm. Great Hill Part­ners bought Yo­gaWorks last year for about $45 mil­lion from Cam­bridge, Mass., ven­ture cap­i­tal firm High­land Cap­i­tal Part­ners, ac­cord­ing to the Wall Street Jour­nal. Yo­gaWorks has an­nual rev­enue of $50 mil­lion, said Peter Gar­ran, prin­ci­pal of Great Hill Part­ners.

Terms of the cash deal for Yoga Tree were not dis­closed.

Yo­gaWorks plans to con­tinue ex­pand­ing in Cal­i­for­nia, in­clud­ing San Diego and far­ther into the San Fran­cisco Penin­sula, Swain said.

Over the next few years, the com­pany also plans to ex­pand from its other hub in New York to East Coast lo­ca­tions such as Bos­ton and Wash­ing­ton.

Francine Orr

YO­GAWORKS PLANS to con­tinue ex­pand­ing in Cal­i­for­nia, in­clud­ing San Diego and far­ther into the San Fran­cisco area. Above, Yo­gaWorks teacher Mia Togo leads a class in May at Dodger Sta­dium af­ter a game.

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