• Kyodo

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Suntory Holdings Ltd. is considering selling health club unit Tipness Ltd. to Nippon Television Holdings Inc. as it tires to unload noncore businesses to help pay for its buyout of U.S. distiller Beam Inc. earlier this year, sources said Friday.

Suntory is expected to sell its 71 percent stake in Tipness to NTV. Trading house Marubeni Corp., which holds the remainder, is likely to do the same.

Tipness, founded in 1986 under the Suntory group, operates 70 fitness clubs across Japan and had about 251,000 members as of late March. Its sales amounted to ¥32.9 billion in fiscal 2013.

Suntory acquired Beam for ¥1.6 trillion in May. In late September, its interest-bearing debt had swollen to ¥1.8 trillion.

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