Zouk Group, the operator of long-running Singapore nightclub Zouk, is changing hands once again: Genting Hong Kong has sold it to Malaysian firm Tulipa for S$14million.
News of the deal was first reported last night (September 1) by The Straits Times. Genting Hong Kong had acquired Zouk Group in 2015 for an undisclosed sum. Its new owner Tulipa is owned by Lim Keong Hui, the son of Genting Hong Kong’s controlling shareholder Lim Kok Thay.
Lim Keong Hui had resigned from the board of Genting Hong Kong the day before news of the Zouk sale broke.
The latest news comes during a difficult period for Genting Hong Kong, which, according to Edge Markets, recently reported a net loss of US$742.6million (S$1.01billion) for the first half of the year.
“The catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic has caused an acute disruption to businesses worldwide and led the cruise and tourism industry to a sudden halt since February 2020,” said Genting Hong Kong in a stock exchange filing reported by Channel NewsAsia.
“The disposal will enable the group to offload non-core assets and investment and provide liquidity to the group.”
Zouk has been a dance music institution in Asian nightlife ever since businessman Lincoln Cheng opened it in 1991. It currently sits in ninth place in DJ Mag‘s rankings of the top 100 clubs in the world, and has remained a fixture on the list for years. Zouk also established ZoukOut, an annual music festival that went on hiatus in 2019.
Following the Genting acquisition in 2015, Cheng, then 68, had told The Straits Times that at his age, “It will be quite hard to take Zouk any higher or grow to expand to other parts of the world.” He praised Genting Hong Kong’s ability to push the brand forward.
The coronavirus pandemic has heavily affected nightlife industries worldwide this year. On its part, Zouk Group recently embarked upon several initiatives to keep the business afloat, from converting the venue’s Capital Lounge club space into a pop-up restaurant, to a series of livestream events in partnership with tech firm Razer Inc.
“To be honest, there’s no nightlife now, so people who would normally go out are now interacting with each other in the virtual sphere,” Zouk Group CEO Andrew Li explained to Tatler Singapore in March.
Following news of the sale, Zouk has continued to produce and broadcast content online, with a session by DJ Ghetto set to air tonight as scheduled.