London: Richard Branson's Virgin Active, the Virgin Group Ltd. fitness-centre unit, was approached by private-equity firms as it seeks to raise money for acquisitions, according to a person with knowledge of the talks.

Negotiations are at an early stage following inquiries from the potential suitors about Virgin Actives' growth plans, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

Virgin is interested in consolidating the market and such a deal would help boost its ability to do so, the person said.

The Daily Telegraph previously reported that the health and fitness chain has held talks with private-equity companies about a potential deal that could net more than £1 billion (Dh5.6 billion).

Health and fitness

KKR & Co., Blackstone Group LP, Advent International Corp. and CVC Capital Partners Ltd. may be interested, the newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information. Virgin Active has 170 health and fitness clubs worldwide with more than 900,000 members, according to its website.