By: Pramod Thomas
A company backed by Rishi Sunak’s wife is on the verge of collapse due to the challenges faced by Covid-induced lockdowns, reported The Telegraph.
Gym chain Digme Fitness, in which the chancellor’s wife Akshata Murthy holds a 4.2 per cent stake, has filed a notice of its intention to appoint administrators after failing to relaunch itself as an online business in the pandemic, the report added.
According to the report, the company hired the law firm Shoosmiths to advise on a restructuring. The court filing will protect the chain from its creditors for 14 days.
Digme’s sites in London have been hit by a decline in the office working during the pandemic. It has eight gyms, some of which are also in Oxford.
The Telegraph report said that the firm tried to offset the steep drop in footfall from office workers by offering online classes and renting out exercise bikes to customers through a subscription model.
Murthy, who is also a director at Digme, is one of the richest women in Britain through her shareholding in her father’s tech firm Infosys which is reportedly worth £430m.
Narayana Murthy, co-founded Infosys in 1981 and is now one of the richest men in India with a net worth of £3.2bn, Forbes estimates.
Digme was set up in 2015 by husband and wife team Caoimhe and Geoff Bamber just as indoor spinning studios were just taking off in London.
Bamber previously spent more than a decade practising law in the City, and Bamber was a fund manager.
Digme’s early investors included West Hill Capital, which also backed Metro Bank.
Its studios host competitive spinning classes with live indoor leaderboards that rank participants, counting former rugby star Lawrence Dallaglio among its customers before the pandemic.
“As a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 has become an extraordinary challenge for us. Our team has shown incredible determination and motivation to weather the storm. The company has taken advantage of the crisis and made a rapid strategic pivot to become an omnichannel fit-tech business,” the company said.
Both Digme and Shoosmiths declined to comment on the report.