Simon Halabi is facing potential losses of up to £150m after the holding company of Esporta, the health club operator he bought in February, went into administration.
Grant Thornton has been appointed to handle the administration of Bell Leisure, Esporta’s holding company.
Analysts said the underbidders in the original Esporta auction could be potential bidders. Among these are London & Regional and MidOcean Partners, the private equity firm behind LA Fitness.
Recent market turbulence and an estimated decline in underlying earnings from £36m in 2006 to around £30m may well have reduced Esporta’s value since Mr Halabi bought it for an estimated £476m with £330m of debt from Société Générale and a £30m loan note from the vendor, Duke Street Capital.
Sources said Halabi faced the loss of around £115m of equity and the estimated £35m cost of buying the business.