The Nuffield Hospitals group has bought the Cannons gym chain for an undisclosed sum.
Nuffield, which is a not-for-profit organisation and charity, said the deal is part of a scheme to create a fitness-to-medical treatment empire.
It adds the 52-chain Cannons brand to its existing corporate gym operation, launched after it bought Sona, which runs in-house gyms for large firms, in 2005.
Cannons was put up for sale last year and is reportedly worth around £200m.
This is far less than the £360m it fetched when it was sold in a management buyout six years ago.
David Mobbs, Nuffield Hospitals chief executive, said the business will draw on the knowledge of its medical experts to create tailored gym programmes to improve people’s health.
He added: “People want to take a more active role in maintaining and promoting their own health.
“They have an increasingly sophisticated view of what services they want to help them stay fit and healthy as well as to look after them when there are problems.
“We are responding to that by providing the services people want.”
Nuffield was founded 50 years ago and has more than 100 hospitals across the UK receiving one million patient visits a year, while Cannons has 172,000 members and employs 3,500 people.
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