Pure Yoga and Pure Fitness owner said to near sale to Chinese buyer

A fitness class at a Pure Fitness gym at Ocean Financial Centre in Raffles Place. PHOTO: PURE FITNESS

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - A Chinese private equity firm is in advanced talks to buy control of Pure Group, which operates Pure Yoga and Pure Fitness centres in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei and New York, people with knowledge of the matter said.

A deal would value the billionaire-backed Hong Kong-headquartered gym chain at more than US$400 million.

The Chinese firm, FountainVest Partners, is holding late-stage negotiations with Pure Group owners including buyout firm Leonard Green & Partners and businessman Bruce Rockowitz, according to the people. Other potential buyers including Primavera Capital still remain around the process, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

Pure Group has more than 70,000 clients and employs 1,400 staff, its website shows.

In Singapore, the company just opened a new fitness club in Ngee Ann City spanning 28,000 sq ft, with a 30m sprint track and a dedicated boxing area,to add to its existing five centres. It was slated to launch a new yoga studio in the Marina Bay area, its first with a retail storefront, in the first quarter of 2018.

In Hong Kong, Pure Group fitness centres occupy prime real estate in spots like IFC Mall, a stone's throw from the local headquarters of UBS Group and the city's stock exchange. Earlier this year, it opened a 10,000 sq ft yoga facility in the upscale Pacific Place mall, just downstairs from the offices of the Carlyle Group.

Founded in 2002, the group also operates the rooftop RED Bar + Restaurant, which offers views of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour, and sells its own brands of activewear and organic food.

Rockowitz, the chief executive of Global Brands Group Holding Ltd and husband to Chinese pop singer Coco Lee, owns around half of Pure Group, people familiar with the matter said in October. He is expected to divest a significant portion of his holding in any sale. Fung Group, the private holding company of Hong Kong billionaire brothers Victor and William Fung, was also seeking to offload its stake of about 10 per cent, the people said at the time.

No final agreements have been reached, and negotiations could still fall apart, the people said. A representative for FountainVest declined to comment, while a spokesman for Pure Group said she could not immediately comment.

With additional information from The Straits Times

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