Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, an owner and operator of entertainment and dining venues, entered into an agreement to acquire Main Event from Ardent Leisure Group and RedBird Capital Partners. Upon closing, Chris Morris, the current CEO of Main Event, will be named CEO of Dave & Buster’s.
Dave & Buster’s expects to utilize cash on hand and proceeds from committed bank financing to fund the acquisition. Deutsche Bank Securities, JPMorgan Chase Bank and BMO Capital Markets are the joint lead arrangers and joint bookrunners for the committed financing.
Deutsche Bank is serving as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis is serving as legal advisor to Dave & Buster’s. Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are serving as financial advisors to Main Event. Weil, Gotshal & Manges is serving as legal advisor to Main Event and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson is serving as legal advisor to RedBird. Gilbert + Tobin is serving as legal advisor to Ardent Leisure.
Main Event is a family entertainment concept with 50 locations in the U.S, including three recently acquired The Summit locations in Colorado. The all-cash transaction, which was unanimously approved by both boards of directors, represents a total enterprise value of $835 million. The transaction is expected to close later this year, but specific timing for closing is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Ardent Leisure stockholders and regulatory review.
The purchase price represents an unsynergized valuation multiple of approximately 9x Main Event’s 12-month Adjusted EBITDA as of Dec. 31, 2021 and the company expects that upon the closing of the transaction there will be approximately $20 million of synergies to be achieved within the first two years from store support center consolidation and supply-chain efficiencies. The company expects the acquisition to be accretive both from an earnings and growth perspective.
“We are thrilled to welcome Main Event to the Dave & Buster’s family,” Kevin Sheehan, board chair and interim CEO of Dave & Buster’s, said. “This is a transformational combination for both brands. From a strategic fit perspective, Main Event’s business model, footprint and asset quality aligns well with Dave & Buster’s. Main Event targets a different demographic, families with younger children, while Dave & Buster’s has primarily targeted young adults. While each brand will continue to operate independently, ownership of both brands enables us to expand the breadth of customers we serve together, while also enabling each brand to better differentiate its offering to its core consumer. Main Event’s existing footprint works well with Dave & Buster’s current geographies and each brand has significant growth opportunities. We expect the acquisition to be accretive to growth and earnings.
“As we have come to know Chris Morris, we have been very impressed by his execution capabilities and focus on profitable growth. Chris is a proven and successful transformational leader who is capable of taking the new organization to the next level. He has been particularly successful in improving and innovating the guest experience at Main Event and we expect that will carry over into his new role overseeing both brands.”
The company also noted that, in addition to expanding the demographic of targeted customers, it expects that team members of both brands will have expanded career growth opportunities, both within and across brands.
“On behalf of the entire team at Main Event, we are excited to join the Dave & Buster’s family,” Morris said. “Together, we will be well positioned to leverage our collective experience and provide our consumers with a category defining entertainment experience.”