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Equity Firms Eye Bally

NEW YORK -- Bally Total Fitness, which announced plans for Chapter 11 restructuring last week, are reportedly being sought after by private-equity firms.

J.H. Whitney & Co. and TPG Capital LP are talking with investment bankers and others to explore a Bally buyout or restructuring, the New York Post reported. Representatives from both firms had no comment.

The newspaper also reported that sources familiar with the possible buyers said the company could fetch $1.50 a share, or roughly $1 billion including debt. Bally closed at 69 cents a share today on the Pink Sheets exchange.

On Monday, Bally announced it had closed on the sale of its 16 Toronto, Canada, facilities to Extreme Fitness Inc. and GoodLife Fitness Centers Inc., realizing net cash proceeds of approximately $18 million. Bally had originally announced the agreement to sell the Canadian clubs in April. Extreme Fitness is acquiring six of the clubs, and GoodLife Fitness is acquiring the remaining 10 clubs.

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