Luxury gym chain Equinox is in talks to go public via merger with Chamath Palihapitiya-backed SPAC

Equinox fitness gym
  • Equinox Holdings is in talks to go public via a SPAC merger with Chamath Palihapitiya’s Social Capital Hedosophia, according to a Bloomberg report.
  • A potential transaction could value Equinox at more than $7.5 billion, the report said.
  • The luxury gym operator also owns SoulCycle, BlinkFitness, and opened its first hotel in 2019.
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Equinox Holdings is in talks to go public via a merger with one of Chamath Palihapitiya’s SPACs, according to a Bloomberg report.

The luxury gym owner could be valued at more than $7.5 billion if it goes public with Palihapitiya’s Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. VI SPAC vehicle, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Talks of Equinox going public heated up in March following a report from Sportico, which said the company was in discussions with as many as 12 different SPACs to complete the public debut.

Besides its luxury gyms under the same name, Equinox owns SoulCycle, BlinkFitness, and opened its first New York City-based hotel in 2019.

The company was hit hard amid the pandemic as it was forced to close many of its locations. Equinox lost about $350 million on $650 million in revenue last year, according to Bloomberg.

An Equinox merger with Social Capital would likely be viewed as a win for the gym operator, as Palihapitiya has been one of the most prolific investors to bring companies public via a SPAC merger.

Some companies brought public by Palihapitiya include Virgin Galactic, which arguably kicked off the SPAC boom in late 2019, as well as Opendoor Technologies, SoFi, and Clover Health.

But the Bloomberg report didn’t drive the same surge in Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. VI on Wednesday that it might have a few months ago when SPACs were all the rage on Wall Street. The SPAC vehicle was down 2% in Wednesday trades, signalling that investors might not be impressed with the potential deal.

The SPAC market has deflated following a peak in the first quarter of 2021. Few issuances have gone public since April, when the SEC signaled that it would increase regulatory scrutiny on the IPO vehicles, and SPAC stocks have cratered, with the Defiance Next Gen SPAC ETF down nearly 30% since its February peak.

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SoulCycle owner Equinox Holdings is mulling a SPAC to go public, new report says

SoulCycle LA
Before the fall: A typically exuberant SoulCycle class swings their sweat towels in March of 2019 in Los Angeles.

SoulCycle majority owner Equinox Holdings is mulling a public offering via a merger with a SPAC, according to a report from Sportico.

The luxury gym and fitness brand is said to be meeting with as many as 12 blank-check firms that are in search of a company to acquire as a flood of SPACs hit the market, according to the report. The company has also met with private equity investors to explore its alternatives.

If a deal does materialize, Equinox could fetch a valuation of $9 billion or more as investors search for reopening plays that are poised to benefit from a reopening of the economy and a diminished threat from COVID-19.

“Everyone’s just trying to figure out what to do. There’s a recovery play to be had, which everyone is evaluating,” said a private equity investor that held talks with Equinox, according to Sportico.

Equinox operates more than 100 full-service fitness clubs, a luxury hotel in New York City, a discount gym named Blink, and a majority stake in SoulCycle, which recently launched its own at-home exercise bike to compete with Peloton.

Over the past year, more than 500 SPACs have been formed and are in search of a deal before the 2-year expiration forces a liquidation of the investment vehicle. According to Dealogic, currently-listed SPACs have more than $1 trillion in purchasing power.

The names of the SPACs that are in talks with Equinox were not disclosed, according to Sportico, which highlighted that there are at least 24 sports-related SPACs that could justify a deal with Equinox.

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The winter solstice is on Monday. A planetary scientist’s simple animation explains what solstices are and how they work.

Earth equinoxes and solstices
How Earth, its axial tilt, and the sun work to create solstices, equinoxes, and seasons.

  • The winter solstice happened Monday at 5:02 a.m. ET.
  • Earth’s northern hemisphere sees the shortest day of the year during the December solstice, while the southern hemisphere sees its longest day.
  • That’s because of the way Earth is angled toward the sun.
  • A planetary scientist created an animation that shows how Earth’s angle and orbit creates equinoxes and solstices.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The winter solstice came on Monday at 5:02 a.m. ET.

The shortest day of the year heralds the arrival of winter; after this, days finally start getting longer in the northern hemisphere, which houses about 90% of Earth’s population. For the southern hemisphere, it signifies the opposite: shortening days and the dawning of summer. 

To illustrate what’s going on with the solstice, Dr. James O’Donoghue, a planetary scientist at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, created an animation that neatly summarizes how these events work, along with their relationship to the equinoxes.

An animation of Earth as it orbits, with points marking both equinoxes and solstices along with relevant information.

Solstices and equinoxes are the products of Earth’s axial tilt: the degree to which the planet is tilted relative to the sun. The axis around which the Earth spins isn’t straight up and down – it’s about 23.5 degrees off. Because of that, different parts of the Earth get exposed to more or less sunlight as the planet rotates around the sun. That’s why we have seasons.

It’s also why the northern and southern hemispheres experience seasons at opposite times: During winter in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere is tilted more towards the sun, and vice versa.

Meanwhile, Earth is also constantly rotating, which keeps its heating even – kind of like a planet-sized rotisserie chicken twisting over a spit

The axial tilt’s most dramatic effect comes during the solstices, since those are the two days when one side of the planet is tilted the farthest away from the sun and the other is the closest. On Monday, the northern hemisphere will receive less than nine hours of daylight, while the southern hemisphere is getting more than 15.

As a result, anyone in the northern hemisphere who stands outside at noon on Monday will cast their longest shadow of the year.

During the summer solstice, O’Donoghue explained on Twitter, “sunlight is most intense as it only has to pass through a short column of atmosphere.” That’s why it gets hot during summertime in general. 

Earth during equinox
An illustration of earth during an equinox.

The two times of the year when Earth’s axis isn’t tilted towards or away from the sun – leading sunlight to hit the northern and southern hemispheres equally – are the equinoxes. On those days, both halves of the planet experience an equal 12 hours of sunlight and darkness.

So if you were to stand directly on the equator at the exact time of an equinox, your shadow would be at its absolute minimum. The sun would also appear almost directly overhead. 

But the shadowless moment would be fleeting, since Earth moves around the sun at about 66,600 mph.

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