A global fitness giant founded in Australia and financially backed by Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg has suffered a stock market ‘meltdown’ with shares plunging 60 per cent, prompting its CEO to step away with a $10million golden handshake.
F45, which is ranked one of the world’s fastest growing franchises, has over 1,750 gyms in 45 countries with a cult following of more than half a million members.
Rapid growth since its launch in 2012, in the inner Sydney suburb of Paddington, caught the attention of Wahlberg who became its second-largest shareholder after its founder, CEO and chairman Adam Gilchrist.
F45 announced on Wednesday that Mr Gilchrist had stepped down as chairman and CEO with immediate effect, after the company’s share price plummeted by 61.5 per cent.
The company had less than $20million cash when it last filed its accounts, meaning his $10million payout takes away more than half of its funds.
Meanwhile, nearly half of F45’s 110 corporate staff will also be let go.
Mark Wahlberg (pictured, center, with David and Candace Warner) was the second-largest shareholder in the company but managed to sell 1.1 million of his F45 shares in March and April which earned him$17.46 million ($US12.2 million)
The New York Stock Exchange recorded the company’s shares opening at $5.02 ($US3.51) but following the shock announcement, the share price dropped to $1.93 ($US1.35).
F45 amassed a cult following for its functional, 45-minute group training workouts that combined resistance, metabolic and cardio movements in a fun and accessible environment.
When action star Wahlberg attributed his impressive physique to F45 training gym-goers across the world were intrigued.
The Daddy’s Home actor frequently promoted the franchise on social media and hosted a number of Instagram Live workouts for his fans and 19.2 million followers.
The company’s share price plummeted a massive 61.54 per cent on Wednesday from $5.02 ($US3.51) to $1.93 ($US1.35)
F45 has suffered a stock market meltdown with the company announcing its founder and CEO Adam Gilchrist would be stepping away as chairman (pictured, Mark Wahlberg (L) and Adam Gilchrist (R) on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor on July 15, 2021 )
The fitness franchise has been endorsed by other high-profile celebrities including Mario Lopez, David Beckham, J Balvin, Steve Aoki, Magic Johnson, Greg Norman and Cindy Crawford.
The outgoing chairman Mr Gilchrest said he was ‘forever grateful’ to the franchise and thanked staff, investors and members for their support.
‘To the staff that have worked tirelessly since our inception, you have been incredible in your efforts, and I thank you for all of your support,’ Mr Gilchrest said in a statement.
‘To the investors that have joined us along our journey, I thank you for your commitment to F45.
Mr Gilchrist has an extensive property portfolio, including a $18.9million beach pad in Byron Bay, next to Wategos Beach, which boasts six-bedrooms, four bathrooms and a swimming pool
International football legend David Beckham (pictured) joined the company last year
‘Lastly, I am forever grateful to our franchisees who deliver the world’s best workout each day to F45 members around the world.’
Mr Gilchrist will receive more than $10.1 million, which includes 12 month’s rent on his Florida mansion and 18 months of health insurance for his family, despite the company’s share price crash.
He also boasts a $14million home in Sydney’s Freshwater, on the Northern Beaches, as well as a $18.8million Byron Bay mansion a stone’s throw from Wategos Beach.
Wahlberg managed to sell 1.1 million of his F45 shares in March and April which earned him $17.46 million ($US12.2 million).
Even before Wednesday’s plunge, F45 stock had fallen sharply since it went public on July 15 last year with an initial offer of $22.89 per share.
The company said the change in ‘macroeconomics – national output, unemployment rates and inflation – has forced a restructuring of the company.
David Beckham (pictured) is another of F45’s fans, and became a ‘global partner’ in 2021
Gilchrist’s colonial-style home broke Byron Bay’s property sale record, which was previously held by the same home when it was sold in 2006 for $15.7 million
F45 confirmed it would lay-off almost 45 per cent of the company’s corporate staff (110 employees) to reduce its selling, general and administrative expenses.
‘We are taking the necessary steps to right-size our business in light of shifting macroeconomic and business conditions,’ Chief Financial Officer Chris Payne explained.
‘While we expect growth to continue, market dynamics are having a greater than expected impact on the ability of franchisees to obtain capital to develop new F45 locations.
‘In addition, recent share price performance has made it challenging for franchisees to utilize financing facilities announced earlier this year.’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted F45 for comment.
F45 amassed a cult following after high-profile celebrities endorsed the franchise’s workout regimes. The Daddy’s Home actor (pictured) frequently promotes F45 to his 19.2 million Instagram followers