Bloomberg News

BC Partners Said to Plan Fitness First Sale in Asia, Australia

October 06, 2011

Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) -- BC Partners Ltd., the London-based private equity firm, plans to sell its Fitness First Ltd. chain in Asia and Australia in an auction that may raise about A$1 billion ($975 million), said a person familiar with the matter.

Initial bids are due this month, the person said, declining to be identified because the sale hasn’t been announced. Fitness First has about 165 gyms and more than 400,000 members in Asia and Australia, the person said.

Fitness First, which started with one club in the U.K. in 1993, this week delayed an initial public offering in Singapore because of volatile equity markets, according to people familiar with the matter. BC Partners bought the business in 2005 for about 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion) from private-equity firm Cinven Ltd. The health company operates in markets including Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.

A message left in London with Tulchan Communications, which handles press enquiries for BC Partners, wasn’t immediately returned. A spokeswoman at Kreab Gavin Anderson in Singapore, which manages communications for Fitness First, declined to comment on the sale.

Any buyer may pay seven times the Asian and Australian operations’ earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of A$150 million, or more than A$1 billion, according to the Australian Financial Review, which reported the proposed sale earlier today.

Fitness First had been weighing plans to raise about $500 million in a Singapore listing, two people with knowledge of the matter said in February.

--Editors: Philip Lagerkranser

To contact the reporter on this story: Angus Whitley in Sydney at awhitley1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at lagerkranser@bloomberg.net


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