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How Lululemon's first acquisition gives it a seat at the home fitness table

Yoga-pants retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc. agreed to buy Mirror, a maker of in-home fitness equipment, for $500 million, broadening a partnership that began last year as exercise increasingly moves away from traditional gyms.

Mirror will operate as a standalone company within Lululemon and retain its chief executive following completion of the deal, the companies said Monday in a statement. The purchase will be paid from Lululemon’s primary sources of liquidity, including $800 million in cash and $700 million in credit facilities.

The deal furthers Lululemon’s shift to become a more experience-based company and beyond its roots as a traditional retailer. While the Vancouver-based company has always leaned into health — with many of its existing stores offering free running clubs or yoga classes — last summer it moved to monetize its workout offerings by opening a Chicago store with a gym.

Home-fitness products such as Peloton bikes and Mirror’s wall-mounted device have gained in popularity as the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered gyms. New York-based Mirror, known for its ubiquitous subway ads, also offers customers live classes and on-demand workouts, mimicking what they might have once paid a personal trainer at the gym to oversee.