Ardent Leisure Group and RedBird Capital Partners have agreed to sell Main Event Entertainment, a Dallas-based family entertainment brand. The company will be acquired by Dave & Buster’s Entertainment for $835 million. Upon the deal’s closing, Main Event CEO Chris Morris will be named CEO of Dave & Buster’s.
DALLAS, April 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Main Event Entertainment, Inc. (“Main Event” or the “Company”) today announced that Ardent Leisure Group Limited (ASX: ALG) (“Ardent Leisure”) and RedBird Capital Partners (“RedBird”) have entered into an agreement with Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLAY) (Dave & Buster’s) to acquire Main Event. Upon closing of the transaction (the “Closing”), Main Event’s current Chief Executive Officer Chris Morris will be named Chief Executive Officer of Dave & Buster’s.
Main Event is one of the fastest-growing family entertainment brands in the country, with 50 operating locations nationwide. Main Event offers the most fun under one roof with state-of-the-art bowling, laser tag, hundreds of arcade games and virtual reality, making it the perfect place for families to partake in shared and memorable experiences.
“We are thrilled to join the Dave & Buster’s family,” said Chris Morris, Main Event’s Chief Executive Officer. “We will undoubtedly benefit from the collective expertise and strong culture of both brands, particularly as we continue to accelerate Main Event’s aggressive expansion plans.”
The transaction represents a total enterprise value of $835 million and is projected to close later this year, with specific timing subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Ardent Leisure shareholders and the expiration of the waiting period under the HSR Act. The acquisition is a transformational opportunity to merge two thriving brands that target uniquely different demographics and enhance the breadth of offerings and experiences to each brand’s guests. Main Event will continue to operate as a distinct brand serving families of all ages under Dave & Buster’s.
Dr Gary Weiss, Chairman of Ardent Leisure, said “Ardent Leisure has partnered with the Main Event brand since 2006 as the company has grown from its Dallas foundations to 50 locations nationwide today. We are particularly proud of our significant involvement in the rejuvenation of Main Event over the last four years and this transaction reflects the culmination of significant value creation that has been achieved by Ardent Leisure and the Main Event management team over this time.”
Gerry Cardinale, Managing Partner of RedBird, said “The transaction with Dave & Buster’s is a great outcome for Ardent Leisure and for Main Event. We have valued our partnership with Gary Weiss and the Ardent Leisure team as they have worked to create value for shareholders. Our Dallas team worked closely with the Main Event leadership team over the last two years and we are exceptionally pleased that Chris Morris will be appointed CEO of Dave & Buster’s when the transaction is completed. We look forward to their continued growth and success as a combined company.”
Upon Closing, the combined company will be led by Chris Morris and will create enhanced synergy and unique opportunity of growth for both brands. Chris joined Main Event in 2018 and brought more than 20 years of experience with multisite businesses, including over six years in the family entertainment business. Over Morris’ four-year tenure with the brand, Main Event has expanded its center footprint by over 30% and more than doubled EBITDA.
“During my tenure with the brand, I have experienced firsthand the fantastic mission and enormous potential Main Event offers and see this as a transformational opportunity to further strengthen the brand,” said Chris Morris, adding, “I’m looking forward to enhancing the offerings and experiences of each brand and providing even more opportunity for our team members. Main Event is a perfect complement to Dave & Buster’s, and I feel very honored to lead the growth of both brands.”
“As we have come to know Chris Morris, we have been very impressed by his execution capabilities and focus on profitable growth,” said Kevin Sheehan, Dave & Buster’s Board Chair and Interim Chief Executive Officer. “Chris is a proven and successful transformational leader who is capable of taking the combined organization to the next level. It is clear Main Event has a strong culture that shares many values in common with our own. We very much look forward to joining these two great teams together.”
Sheehan will return to his role as Board Chair following the completion of the acquisition.
About Main Event Entertainment, Inc.
Founded in 1998, Dallas-based Main Event operates 50 centers in 17 states across the country. Main Event offers the most fun under one roof with state-of-the-art bowling, laser tag, hundreds of arcade games and virtual reality, making it the perfect place for families to connect and make memories. Main Event is a premier sponsor of Special Olympics International, supporting via fundraising and serving as a venue for Special Olympics events nationwide. Main Event also is a proud partner of the Dallas Cowboys. For more information, visit mainevent.com.
About Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, Inc.
Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Coppell, Texas, Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, Inc., is the owner and operator of 145 venues in North America that combine entertainment and dining and offer customers the opportunity to “Eat Drink Play and Watch,” all in one location. Dave & Buster’s offers a full menu of entrées and appetizers, a complete selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and an extensive assortment of entertainment attractions centered around playing games and watching live sports and other televised events. Dave & Buster’s currently has stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada. For more information, visit daveandbusters.com.
About Ardent Leisure Group Limited
Ardent Leisure (ASX: ALG) is one of Australia’s most successful leisure and entertainment groups. The owners and operators of premium leisure assets including Dreamworld, WhiteWater World & SkyPoint theme parks and attractions, as well as Main Event, which is a growing portfolio of family entertainment assets in the United States. Ardent Leisure’s businesses occupy dominant positions in affordable, family-friendly, leisure and entertainment categories. As a group, Ardent Leisure has well over 3 million customers annually and has developed extensive communication opportunities to interact and transact with these customers. For more information, visit www.ardentleisure.com
About RedBird Capital Partners
RedBird Capital Partners is a private investment firm focused on building high-growth companies alongside entrepreneurs in its four areas of domain expertise: sports, media, consumer and financial services. Founded by former Goldman Sachs Partner Gerry Cardinale in 2014, RedBird today manages over $6 billion of capital on behalf of a highly curated group of blue-chip global institutional and family office investors. RedBird’s network of entrepreneurs is central to its investment sourcing and company-building strategy that helps founders achieve their business objectives and long-term vision. Since inception, RedBird has invested in over 30 platform companies and 80 add on acquisitions with total enterprise value exceeding $30 billion. For more information, please go to www.redbirdcap.com.