Billionaire Ron Burkle buys Soho House chain

LOS ANGELES ( - Billionaire Ron Burkle -- already a high-profile guy -- is significantly increasing his profile in the entertainment industry. After buying concert promoter Artist Group International and a stake in Relativity Media, Burkle has purchased one of Hollywood's favorite hang-outs, the Soho House.

Not just the posh club on Sunset Boulevard -- the entire chain of members-only clubs, restaurants and hotels.

Much of It seems to be about convenience for the billionaire who started his career as a bagboy.

Burkle, who has been a Soho House member for about 10 years, not only can walk to the West Hollywood location from the offices of his private equity firm The Yucaipa Companies -- he can walk to the London Soho House from his headquarters in that city.

West Hollywood Soho House membership costs $1,800 per year -- $2,400 per year for admission to all Soho House Clubs. For people under 27, the price is $900 per year for the single club, $1,200 for all.

The West Hollywood club opened in the spring of 2010. Despite -- or perhaps because of -- its no cell phone policy, it quickly became the entertainment industry's preferred spot for lunches, dinners and low-key meetings.

On the top two floors of the 14-story building at 9200 Sunset Boulevard, it includes a screening room, a roof garden, a bar and private dining areas. It is the second in the U.S., after the Manhattan club.

Soho House was founded in London in 1995 as a private club for people in the film, media and creative industries. There now are Soho House locations across Europe and North America, with others planned in Mumbai, Istanbul and Chicago.

That's where Burkle's capital comes in. His involvement provides an opportunity for the brand to build substantially. Founder Nick Jones remains CEO, and will keep 30 percent of the company. But Burkle, as owner, will become chairman. He also owns a stake of the boutique hospitality chain Morgans Hotel Group.

But his interest in the entertainment industry is longstanding.

The friend of former President Clinton nearly bought Miramax with Harvey Weinstein in 2010, and he finances movies with the Weinstein Company.


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