The Billionaire club is moving its operations to Singapore. The most exclusive disco chain in the Mediterranean will now become the property of an investment group based in Asia after Italian owner Flavio Briatore sold his 51-percent holding to Bay Capital following months of negotiations.
The last of what became a chain of four clubs was opened in July in Marbella's famous Golden Mile sector. But Briatore's divestment of his holdings doesn't mean that the famous Porto Cervo club and its affiliates in Spain, Turkey and Monaco will be shutting their doors. On the contrary, more Billionaire clubs are expected to be opened in other countries.
Briatore's financial transaction allows him to keep an important share of Billionaire's holdings but also gives him the opportunity to expand his horizons. "We are going to open spots in Dubai and India," said the former team principal for the Renault Formula 1 team during the time the Fernando Alonso legend was created, in an interview with the Italian daily La Stampa. "I am not throwing in the towel — in fact I am expanding!"
Last July's inauguration of Billionaire in Marbella was one of the biggest social events of the year. Briatore was accompanied by Alejandro Agag and his wife Ana Aznar - the daughter of former Prime Minister José María Aznar - who are his closest friends. The cheapest cover charge for this high-rollers disco, restaurant and club was 1,000 euros, and the party lasted from 11pm to 5am.
Billionaire has been a playground for many soccer stars, such as Andrés Iniesta, Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as actors Bruce Willis and Kevin Spacey.
It wasn't the crisis or the new income tax hikes on Italy's own billionaires introduced by Mario Monti that forced Briatore to make his decision to sell off part of his empire, which also includes Twiga Beach Club in Tuscany.
"I didn't know these guys from Adam," he told the newspaper. "They called me and proposed a deal. I think it was a successful transaction because it means that Billionaire is known worldwide as a leader in nightclub entertainment."
Bay Capital, through its Far East Leisure holding, manages various tourist operations for the super-rich throughout Asia and India, and is now getting into the nightclub business. "We are convinced that we have acquired the most prestigious nightclub firms in the world," said Far East Leisure president Siddharth Mehta in a statement.