Singapore fund buys Italian luxury clubs brand

ROME (AFP) - Singapore's Bay Capital investment group has bought a majority stake in Italian nightclubs and resorts group Billionaire with plans to target Asia's new elites in particular.

Bay Capital "acquired the majority of the leisure and entertainment unit of the Billionaire brand" from Italian tycoon Flavio Briatore, a close friend of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, the two companies said in a statement on Tuesday.

The existing resorts for the rich and famous - often the backdrop to paparazzi photos - are located in popular Mediterranean spots like the Italian island of Sardinia, Bodrum in southwest Turkey and Monte Carlo in Monaco.

Plans are also under way to open "Billionaire Clubs" in Dubai and Singapore.

The statement said the brand, now based in Singapore, would aim for "regional diversification, particularly in the Middle East and Far East".

Siddharth Mehta, chairman of Far East Leisure, Bay Capital's portfolio company, said the clubs were "a statement of style and luxury and we believe that there is great potential in taking the brand to the world's elite."

Mr Briatore, a former Formula One boss who will remain in the company, said: "We will work together to establish Billionaire Clubs in Asia and beyond while guaranteeing the uniqueness and excellence of the existing operations." The value of the deal was not disclosed by the parties.

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