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B.H. Billionaire Burkle Trying To Buy Barneys New York

Beverly Hills Billionaire Ron Burkle, the poster boy for West Coast playboy living, is making a move on Barneys New York, the department stores for edgier, East Coast fashionistas.

The Wall Street Journal reports that he's been buying up Barneys' debt and plants to sink another $50 million into the company via his Yucaipa Cos. investment firm. The move would give him a controlling state in the department stores. Interestingly the Weekly echoed another WSJ report from late last year that the Friend of Bill (Clinton) was borrowing $56 million against two of him homes, including his Beverly Hills estate. Connected? We don't know.

The Yucaipa investments would give Burkle 80 percent of Barneys' common shares, the Journal reports. It spins the billionaire's interest in Barneys as a sign that "the company and battered luxury retail sector have seen the worst of the recession."

Indeed, the paper describes Pomona-born Burkle, who controls Ralph's and other area supermarkets, as somewhat of a turnaround artist who invests in companies and repositions them for better performance.